Project Insight Research Report: Drug-related Violence and Firearms in the European Union

Drug-related Violence and Firearms in the European Union

In 1985, Goldstein presented his framework on the relationships between drugs and violence in the United States, laying a foundation for future research on drug-related violence. Since then, the rise of synthetic drugs, including in Europe, and the introduction of online drug transactions have drastically changed illicit drug markets and associated violence contexts.

The innovation and diversification of the drug market calls for an expansion of Goldstein’s framework, given the increasingly complex accompanying violence. A framework specifying the level at which violence takes place allows for a better understanding of drug-related violence, as well as the degree and type of firearms involved at each level. The proposed refinements relate to violence occurring at different stages of the drug route, and access- and consumption-related violence at the individual level.

This fine-grained framework captures the characteristics of drug-related violence in the European Union (EU). As its heterogeneity implies a diverse research and policy agenda, this framework provides policy approaches to tackle each level where drug-related violence manifests itself, offering intervention entry points at the international, national, local, and individual levels.

Drug report cover

About the Author

Marieke Liem is professor of violence and interventions at Leiden University, where she and her team conduct research on interpersonal violence. She received her MPhil degree from Cambridge University and her PhD from Utrecht University, and has been a Marie Curie Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was one of the founders of the European Homicide Monitor, and continues to work on this project. Her research interests focus on violence. She has been a principal investigator on numerous research projects on domestic homicide, homicide by the mentally ill, homicide followed by suicide, firearm violence, drug-related violence, homicide in overseas areas, the effects of confinement on violent offenders, and international comparative research on violence. Current research projects centre on the relationship between drugs, violence, and organized crime. She is a member of the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Scientific Committee.

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