Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Genocide

Alcohol and drug use have been around for centuries. Throughout history, and into modern day, the use of drugs and alcohol have been embedded into people’s societies and cultures (Schivelbusch). It is reasonable then, to assume, that drug and alcohol use could have had a role in societies where genocidal acts were committed. The use of alcohol can have damaging effects on the brain. Alcohol is a depressant, which can affect thoughts, feelings and actions. Alcohol can induce negative responses in some individuals, and increase anxiety and stress. Drugs affect the way that messages are sent in the brain. The brain uses neurotransmitters to send and receive information. Drug use can activate a specific neurotransmitter or disrupt the neurotransmitters. Short term effects of drugs include highs and euphoria, but they also include paranoia, agitation, and a decreased ability to experience pleasure. Just like alcohol, decision making and self-control can be affected. Perpetrators of genocide who consumed alcohol or used drugs, could have been in altered states of mind.  Their decision making, cognitive and physical abilities may have been skewed. A few cases of genocide contain significant ties to substance usage and abuse. They include the Nazi and German troops during World War Il, Adolf Hitler, and the genocide in Rwanda.