pills and liqour

Earlier this year the Obama administration announced plans to ask congress to spend an additional $1.1 billion next year to fight the epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse plaguing our country. This money would be used to crack down on illegal sales and expand treatment facilities.

A recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests that many Americans would agree that something needs to be done about the substance abuse issues in this country.

Here’s what you should know about American attitudes towards substance abuse:

  • More than three-quarters of American’s (76%) identified alcohol as a serious problem in their community. That’s higher than the percentage who named marijuana, painkillers, and even heroin.
  • 62% of Americans reported at least one type of serious substance abuse in their community.
  • 61% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, but most (66%) believe their should be restrictions on things like purchase amounts, or legalization only if prescribed by a doctor.
  • 68% of Americans say that their communities are not doing enough to find improved methods of treating addiction.
  • Only twenty-one percent felt that most doctors or dentists frequently prescribe painkillers more than is necessary. However, most of those that do (89%) think that their tendency to do so contributes to drug dependence and overdoses.
  • 61% of Americans believe there should be a crack down on drug dealers, and over half believe something should be done about users themselves.
  • More than half of the people who participated in the poll believed that black, HIspanic, poor and urban substance users are “very likely” to be convicted of drug possession. Only three in ten believed that white, middle class, suburban and rural substance abusers were likely to be convicted.

For more information on this study, check out this article by NORC: