America’s Violent Crimes Often Result of Addiction

For Immediate Release
July 21, 2014

Chicago Murders on the Rise This Summer;No Neighborhood Is Immune to Drugs

Philadelphia—This summer has been especially violent for the city of Chicago.

In July alone, 26 people in Chicago have been murdered in the first half of the month; all but four victims were under the age of 30. Last month saw 36 homicides in Chicago; the youngest was just 15. Thus far in 2014, 1,080 people have been shot and wounded in the city, while 184 have been killed.

Dr. Karl Benzio, founder, executive director and a psychiatrist at Lighthouse Network (, an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, estimates that many of the homicides were very likely drug-related, with drug addiction often leading to violent crimes.

“We know that drug abuse and addiction have a definite correlation to violent behaviors such as rape, assault, arson, hate crimes, robberies, suicides and homicides,” Benzio said. “Studies have shown that 17 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal prisoners stated that drugs were somehow involved when they committed their offense. Approximately 60 percent of individuals arrested for most types of crimes test positive for illegal drugs at the time of arrest. And nearly 50 percent of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted. Other facts tell us that about two-thirds of domestic violence offenders also struggle with substance abuse.

“We know that substances have three dangerous effects: first, they don’t allow us to see a situation clearly; second, they intensify our emotions and bring them to the surface, and third, they reduce our inhibitions, making us more impulsive. This deadly cocktail leads to poor problem-solving and terrible decision-making, which leads to more physical assaults and deaths via homicide, suicide, rape and accidents. Drug use and abuse is most definitely linked to violent crime, and only a 180-degree turn away from the bondage of drugs, along with life-changing counseling, can break the cycle of violence.”

As evidenced by the age of murder victims this month in Chicago, young people can become the victims of drug- or alcohol-related crimes, even if they are not using. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), “each year, more than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.” On America’s college campuses, 95 percent of violent crime involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both. Likewise, 90 percent of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses is tied to alcohol. Additionally, each day, 36 people die and approximately 700 are injured in car crashes in which alcohol is a factor. Drinking and drugged driving are the biggest cause of death, injury and disability in individuals under the age of 21.

“We think of big cities like Chicago as places where violent crime happens,” Benzio continued, “and that is partially true. But drug abuse, addiction and alcoholism know no gender, neighborhood, age, race or socio-economic status. Drug addiction and alcohol abuse can have devastating, violent effects on anyone, anywhere. And while the threat of incarceration deters some, once someone becomes addicted, the substance becomes the main focus. And jail time, unfortunately, isn’t therapeutic, as 60 to 80 percent of addicts commit a crime shortly after release from prison, and 95 percent return to drug abuse.

Unfortunately, our society is starting to buy into the notion that legalizing drugs will lessen the jail load and decrease the number of arrests that are drug related while also taking our prisons out of the failed rehab business. Sadly, making drugs legal and more easily available will ultimately lead to an increase in crime, especially violent crime, as addictions will be more prevalent.” 

Drug abuse and alcoholism coupled with violent behavior may seem overwhelming for those who have a friend or loved one struggling with addiction, but help is available And, Benzio adds, the most effective help for long-term recovery is a bio-psycho-spiritual approach to acute treatment and to longer-term preventative services that teaches Biblical decision-making skills to people of all ages, which will have a long-term transformational impact.

Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one. Visit

Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit

Lighthouse Networkworks to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

Lighthouse Network’s web site,,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.

Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.

For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

To schedule interviews with Dr. Karl Benzio at Lighthouse Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.

Lighthouse Network is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that offers an addiction and mental health counseling helpline providing treatment options and resources to equip people and organizations with the skills necessary to shine God’s glory to the world, stand strong on a solid foundation in the storms of their own lives, and provide guidance and safety to others experiencing stormy times, thus impacting their lives, their families and the world.

Dr. Karl Benzio, M.D. is the founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network. With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, Benzio went on to medical school and then specialized in psychiatry. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students counseling and conflict resolution skills in Uganda and Kenya; leading a behavioral health team into post-Hussein Iraq to equip health care specialists with treatment and assessment skills and successfully testifying for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives opposing legislation for Plan B contraception administration and for President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics regarding Right of Conscience. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council. His specialties include Adolescents, Addictions, Decision-Making, Infusing Spirituality into Practical Treatment Modalities and the Ramifications of Decision-Making on Social Policy.


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