Aims: This study investigated a possible association between violence and the use of drugs, particularly methamphetamine and alcohol. Methods: Cross-sectional, baseline data were derived from the At-Risk Youth Study, a prospective cohort of street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada. Subjects were asked whether they had suffered or perpetrated violence in the 6 months prior to the interview. Results: In total, 478 youth were enrolled, with a median age of 22 years (interquartile range = 20.0–23.9); 230 (48%) reported having been victims of violence, while 165 (34.5%) reported having perpetrated violence. Daily methamphetamine use was not associated with either outcome. In a multivariate analysis, daily alcohol consumption was significantly associated with being a victim (adjusted odds ratio = 2.10) and a perpetrator (adjusted odds ratio = 2.02) of violence. A history of abuse, failing a grade, and dealing drugs were also independently associated with violence, while having a regular partner was protective. Conclusion: Contrary to popular media reports that methamphetamine causes violence, we found no association. The association of alcohol with violence, though, has implications for screening and intervention programs.

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