According to recent studies, addiction has impacted the lives of three out of every four Americans. At least 73 percent of 2,000 survey participants reported having a personal link to substance abuse, with friends (56%), family (56%), and acquaintances (48%) being the most prevalent.
42 percent of respondents say they are aware of someone who is now battling with substance misuse, while 57% say they are aware of someone who has struggled with it in the past.
That includes the survey participants themselves, as 46% acknowledge that they have felt “dependent on certain substances,” such as alcohol or prescription drugs, and 28% even identified as addiction survivors.
The survey, which was carried out by OnePoll for Landmark Recovery, also revealed that almost half (47%) of respondents thought drug abuse was a “serious problem” in their own neighborhoods.
This may be the reason why 69 percent of people say they have developed a greater empathy for those who are addicted to drugs over the past five years, particularly millennials (ages 26 to 41), who reported a higher level of sympathy than Gen Xers (ages 42 to 56) and baby boomers (39 percent), who reported a lower level of sympathy.
76 percent of respondents, regardless of age, concur that stigmatizing people who struggle with substance use disorders ultimately does more harm than good for them.
Participants in the survey were much more likely to use positive adjectives like “serious” (24%) and “heartbreaking” (23%) to describe substance use disorders than they were to use derogatory adjectives like “selfish” (11%) or “dirty” (9%).
Similar to how they described those who successfully complete addiction treatment, they also called them “strong” (40%) and “courageous” (38%).
According to Matt Boyle, chief executive officer of Landmark Recovery, “addiction is an illness, not a choice.” “A person loses control when they are addicted to alcohol or drugs because their brains alter. Addiction affects people from many walks of life, as evidenced by this survey. Contrary to popular belief, recovering from a substance use disorder is challenging. Your chances of overcoming a substance use disorder permanently will increase with a specific treatment strategy.
Among those surveyed, 61 percent believe that decriminalizing drugs has helped the situation for those who require assistance, and 71 percent are in favor of providing financial support for addiction treatment.
Despite all of this backing, 49 percent continue to hold the view that drug and alcohol abuse are “choices” rather than diseases (36%).
The main barrier to treatment, according to respondents, is cost (29%), but they also mentioned denial (28%) and a lack of willpower (27%) among addicts.
“It is encouraging to see that 80 percent of the people that took the survey believe addiction treatment can help someone recover from substance use disorders,” Boyle notes. “More people are coming to the realization that dealing with addiction alone does not work, but the most successful pathway to sustained recovery is through joining a support network through treatment.”
Survey methodology: Landmark Recovery commissioned this 2,000 general population Americans random double-opt-in survey between November 4 and November 8, 2022. It was conducted by OnePoll, a market research firm, whose employees are Market Research Society members and corporate members of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).