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National Survey Finds Fewer Perceive the Dangers of Substance Abuse

The Perception of Substance Abuse

At Transitions Miami drug rehab, we work with people who seek addiction recovery because they have hit a low point in their lives. We are glad to be able to help, but we know that prevention is really the best medicine. When people understand the great risk they are taking when they abuse drugs or alcohol, this may prevent them from engaging in this behavior in the first place.

The results of the National Survey of Drug Use and Health have recently been published. More than 137,000 people participated between 2008 and 2009 to help researchers get a picture of how Americans use alcohol, tobacco and illegal substances, as well as mental health.

USA Today says that the survey found that, “Nearly a quarter of all Americans have participated in binge drinking, and 8.4% have used an illicit drug in the past month…”

Teens reported less use of illegal drugs (and that is a good things). Overall, “Among those ages 12 and older, Alaska had the highest percentage, of illegal drug use 13.5%, Iowa the lowest, 5.3%.”

In commenting on the survey results, one expert noted that “Perception of risk for a number of drugs has been decreasing over the past few years.”

This is something that deserves our attention. These days, people chuckle at the memory of a well known ant0-drug abuse campaign that showed someone cracking open an egg and frying it, with a voiceover comparing that action to what happens to your brain when you use drugs. It is not that they don’t recognize the dangers of substance abuse, it is just that for some this illustration now seems dramatic or perhaps cheesy.

The update to that egg frying commercial is one where a girl uses a frying pan to smash up a kitchen. This may or may not resonate with people today. It is a much more violent metaphor for what can happen as a result of drug abuse, in contrast to the egg frying commercial with was more subtle. However, anyone who has witnessed or experienced the way addiction can destroy someone’s way of life and relationships knows that substance abuse is indeed very risky.