New Poll Says 50% View Alcohol, Cigarettes More Dangerous than Marijuana, Surprising Substance Abuse Treatment Advocates

(Chicago, IL) – August 3, 2010. A new poll that reveals Americans view alcohol and cigarettes as more dangerous than marijuana is surprising a leading Chicago drug and alcohol treatment advocacy organization.

Fifty percent of adults say alcohol is more dangerous, while 26% say both are as equally risky, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released on July 27.

The result surprises Pamela Rodriguez, President of the statewide, Chicago-based Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, a group that manages court-mandated treatment and advocates for drug prevention and treatment services.

“Given the fierce political opposition to even the legalization of medical marijuana, I would have expected public opinion to align with a negative health perception of marijuana,” said Rodriguez.

“That said, the poll does align with the reality that substance abuse treatment is overwhelming focused on people struggling to overcome alcohol addiction,” Rodriguez added.

Illinois statistics show that an estimated 874,000 individuals had an alcohol abuse or dependence problem in 2005, while an estimated 294,000 individuals had an illicit drug addiction problem.

The Rasmussen poll also reveals that 46% say smoking cigarettes is more dangerous than smoking pot and 24% disagree, saying marijuana use is more dangerous. And 40% of adults report they have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on July 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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