Pubdate: Sat, 26 Mar 2016
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2016 The Associated Press


(AP) - Many people have seen firsthand the ravages of drug abuse 
reflected in a national Associated Press- NORC Center for Public 
Affairs Research poll. Whether it's alcohol or illegal drugs such as 
heroin and cocaine, a majority of Americans say it's a problem and 
that it needs to be addressed better.

The poll found that most Americans- 62 percent - said that at least 
one type of substance use was a serious problem in their communities. 
That included alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, meth and prescription pills.

About 43 percent said they had a relative or close friend with 
substance abuse issues. Seven in 10 Americans believe not enough is 
being done to find better addiction treatment or to make treatment 
programs more accessible in their communities.

The AP- NORC survey described a feeling that drugs are a pervasive 
problem, with many seeing friends or relatives ravaged by drugs and 
believing that treatment options need to be improved for addicts 
while punishment needs to be fierce for dealers.

While 61 percent of those surveyed said they support legalizing 
marijuana, most said they want it limited to medical treatment or 
want to impose restrictions on amounts that can be purchased.

Warren Lawler Chansky is a retired criminal defense lawyer who 
believes that as long as alcohol is legal, so should marijuana for 
recreational and medicinal uses. "I've seen awful crimes, tragedies. 
But very few associated with marijuana," said Chansky, 57, of Port 
St. Lucie, Fla.

The AP- NORC Poll of 1,042 adults was conducted Feb. 11- 14 using a 
sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is 
designed to be representative of the U. S. population. The margin of 
sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom