Yo, what’s good? My name is Dan, and I gotta update y’all. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Morning Consult conducted a survey last week, and the results are in! Americans be sayin’ that weed is less dangerous than opioids, alcohol, and cigarettes. You heard that right! They spoke to 2,201 adults between April 20 and 22 of 2023, and they found that people think cannabis is not as harmful as other stuff. They asked about six substances and technology too, and here’s what they found out.
They asked about weed first, and 38% said it is “very or somewhat unsafe.” In contrast, 84% of people said cigarettes were unsafe! Sixty-four percent believe alcohol is unsafe, with 66% saying prescription opioids are dangerous, and 75% finding non-prescription opioids a threat. And check this out- 76% said that vapes are not safe. But technology was deemed safer than cannabis, with only 23% considered very or somewhat unsafe. What?!
And what about addiction? Well, people think weed is less addictive than all the other substances mentioned in the survey, including technology. Sixty-four percent think cannabis can be addictive. But get this: 87% say cigarettes are addictive, and 84% consider alcohol addictive. Prescription opioids are thought to be addictive by 83%, while non-prescribed opioids drop down to 74%. People responded by saying that vapes are addictive by a whopping 81%, with technology being considered addictive by 75%.
So the APA President Petros Levounis said in a press release that we know cigs are terrible for us now. We gotta help people avoid other behaviors that could become addictive too. Like, vaping is just as addictive as smoking! So even though science says that addiction is a medical condition, 47% of people think it’s due to “personal weakness.” That shows that some people still stigmatize substance use disorders. But weed is unlikely to be physically addictive, unlike opioids. If someone takes opioids for pain after being in a car accident and then gets addicted, it’s because of changes in the brain.
Levounis thinks this survey can help us educate folks better. We can let them know about safe and effective treatments for addiction! And the numbers are higher for those who don’t blame addiction on personal weakness. Seventy-six percent say addiction is a medical condition, while 93% of people think substance use disorders can be treated and 76% say the condition is preventable.
The survey also tells us we need more awareness about naloxone, an opioid anti-overdose drug that can save lives. Only 58% of people knew about it, and only 35% said they knew how to access it if they needed it for an overdose. It can reverse an overdose if used within 30 to 90 minutes after discovery. So everyone should have naloxone on hand rather than searching for it when an overdose happens! The study also found that 71% of Americans say they would know how to help someone in their life who is struggling with addiction. So one takeaway from this research is how important naloxone awareness is.
So there you have it, folks! Weed ain’t so bad compared to other stuff, and we gotta be aware of addiction and have naloxone on hand! Stay safe out there!