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Views mixed on abuse of drugs, alcohol

September 07, 2011
A recent survey of Crawford County residents indicates that, in some areas, drug and alcohol abuse issues haven't changed since a similar survey was conducted in 2010. But some parts of the survey show significant change in the way residents view drug and alcohol issues.

The survey, conducted by the Crawford County Council for a Drug-Free Community, was taken from responses on the council's website. Many of those responses, 44 percent, were made by teenagers (13 to 18 years olds) and 22.8 percent were made by residents 47 to 59 years old. About 16 percent of the responses were made by the 36-to-46-age group and 9.8 percent of the responses came from 26-to-36-year-old residents.

The 2010 survey showed that 76.2 percent of those responding were aware of adults who abuse alcohol and/or drugs. That number has dropped to 70.2 percent. However, when asked if they were aware of youth (under 21) who use alcohol or drugs, the number increased from 61.8 percent in 2010 to 66.2 percent. When asked if anyone in their household abuses alcohol or drugs, the number dropped from 8.5 percent who answered "yes" in 2010 to 6.3 percent in 2011.

In 2010, residents were asked if Crawford County has a drug problem; 35.1 percent agreed strongly that it did and 7.6 percent responded that the county did not have a drug problem. In 2011, those numbers dropped to 24.3 percent who believed the county has a drug problem and 6.9 percent who do not believe there is a drug problem in Crawford County.

When asked if Crawford County has an alcohol problem, 35.1 percent of respondents in 2010 said that there was a problem and 7.6 percent said there wasn't. In 2011, that number dropped to 19.6 percent who believed the county has a alcohol problem and 7 percent who do not believe there is a problem.

When asked if law enforcement does a good job of enforcing drug and alcohol-related offenses in the county in 2010, 10.9 percent believed strongly that it did, 25 percent somewhat agreed that it did, while 10.9 percent believed that it did not. In 2011, only 2.8 percent believed strongly that law enforcement is doing a good job on drug and alcohol enforcement, while 34.5 percent somewhat agreed and 13.4 percent believe that it does not.

The survey also asked respondents if youth participation in recreational and alternative activities helps prevent substance abuse. In 2010, 33.5 percent strongly agreed, 29.2 percent agreed, 18.9 somewhat agreed and 6.5 percent disagreed. In 2011, only 18.3 percent strongly agreed, 32.4 percent agreed, 29.6 percent somewhat agreed and 6.3 percent disagreed.

When residents were asked in 2010 if schools provide sufficient drug and alcohol education, 11.7 strongly agreed, 31.7 percent agreed, 21.1 percent somewhat agreed and 11.7 disagreed. In 2011, those numbers changed to 10.7 who strongly agreed, 33.6 percent agreed, 30.0 somewhat agreed and 10.7 disagreed.

Residents were also asked if they knew where to receive treatment or services for substance abuse, if needed. In 2010, 23.1 percent strongly agreed, 28.5 agreed, 11.8 percent somewhat agreed and 20.4 percent disagreed. In 2011, the response was 16.1 strongly agreed, 31.5 agreed, 15.4 somewhat agreed and 16.1 disagreed.

When asked which drugs are a problem in Crawford County, the strongly agree response was (2010 results):

Alcohol, 31 percent (42.7)

Tobacco, 44.4 percent (46.4)

Meth, 26.2 percent (41.3)

Inhalants, 10.7 percent (15.1)

Prescription drugs, 27.7 percent (43)

Marijuana, 34.8 percent (35.6)

Cocaine, 7.6 percent (8.2)

Heroin, 8.3 percent (6.4)

GHB "rave" drugs, 9.2 percent (6.4)

Over-the-counter drugs, 16.7 percent (29.1)

*K-2/Synthetic marijuana, 15.8 percent

*Spice, 13.7 percent

*Bath salts, 14.3 percent

(*Not included on 2010 survey.)

The Crawford County Council for a Drug-Free Community is a nonprofit agency funded by court fees from alcohol and drug convictions in the county. Those funds are used to award grants to area agencies that address alcohol and drug abuse issues.

The council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 8 a.m. at Van's Restaurant in Marengo. The public is welcome to attend. The council's website is drugfreecrawford.com.

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