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One in five adults has a personal experience of drug addiction

Friday, July 10th, 2009 One in five adults has a personal experience of drug addiction

One in five adults (19 per cent) has had a personal experience of drug addiction, according to new research published this week.

The findings come as the result of a poll carried out by ICM on behalf of the charity DrugScope and reveal that more than one in 20 (6 per cent) have experienced drug addiction in their family, while one in 50 ( 2 per cent) have personally experienced drug addiction.

Based upon the responses of 1,039 people, the poll reveals that 77 per cent agree that investment in drug treatment is a ‘sensible use of government money’.

The figures also reveal that cases of addiction are more prevalent among younger adults, with more then a quarter of respondents aged between 18 and 34 admitting to a personal direct or indirect experience of drug dependence.

The survey also suggested that the public’s views are sympathetic towards people with drug addiction, with 80 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that “people can become addicted to drugs because of other problems in their lives”.

However, the poll also concluded that 35 per cent of the public agreed with the statement “there is no excuse for drug addiction - it is always the individual’s fault.”

Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, said: “Our research shows that drug dependency is something that’s close to home for many people.

“Every drug user is someone’s daughter or somebody’s son. It may be hard for a lot of people to reconcile the ‘junkies’ or ‘crackheads’ of many a headline with the person they know and love who has struggled with drug dependency.

“It’s encouraging that the majority of respondents - regardless of their own experience - understood that someone’s drug dependence will often stem from a number of other problems in their life and agreed that drug treatment should be available to all those who need it.

DrugScope added that the survey does not suggest an increase in the number of people experiencing drug dependency, with the evidence suggesting that overall drug use is stabilising. The charity says the results exemplify the extent to which drug dependency and abuse are widespread social problems that touch many people’s lives.

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