Americans Name Drug They Fear Most—and It's Legal

Alcohol causes 88K deaths a year
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2016 8:19 AM CDT
Updated Apr 3, 2016 2:35 PM CDT
Americans Name Drug They Fear Most—and It's Legal
Christopher Hansen sits with photos of his late uncle, Joey Rovero, who died in 2009 after mixing prescription drugs and alcohol. The demonstration was held in Sacramento on Monday, March 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The second deadliest drug in the US after tobacco is similarly legal, and claims more lives than all illicit drugs combined with 88,000 deaths a year. Alcohol is also the drug that has Americans most concerned, reports the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago after surveying 1,042 adults in February. Some 36% of those surveyed say booze is an extremely serious or very serious problem in their community, while another 40% say it's a moderately serious issue. Prescription painkillers clock in at No. 2 with those two categories at a combined 74%, followed by "other drugs" (like cocaine or meth) at 64%, heroin (53%), and marijuana (53%), notes the Washington Post.

More specifically on pot, 26% of respondents cite marijuana as a "very" or "extremely" serious problem, with 61% of those surveyed saying they're in favor of some form of legalization. Only 7% were in favor of legalizing drugs such as heroin or cocaine. And with nearly half of Americans saying they have a family member or close friend with a substance abuse problem, even more, 70%, say the US needs to do more to improve not only treatment but also access to treatment programs. "To lock someone up for using, it’s not going to solve anything. They’re going to rebel," a former crack addict tells the AP. But "dealers, in my eyes, they should be locked up." (More Americans are drinking themselves to death.)

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