Are Less Religious People More Likely to Abuse Drugs?

Data shows strong religious beliefs play a huge role in the ability to say no to drugs.

Drug abuse has become so common in today’s society due to a number of different reasons. Stress, peer pressure and mental instability are just a few reasons drug users admit to for using the first time. Families of loved ones who are suffering from addiction pray day in and day out for the user to put down the drugs. The answer to this epidemic could be prayer alone.

Data collected by Pew Research Center ranking the America’s most and least religious states and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Survey on Drug Use and Health helped conclude that strong religious beliefs play a huge role in the ability to just say no.

The states with the highest percentage of faith driven residents had the least amount of reported drug use. For example, Alabama weighed in with the highest religious population and ranked 46th for the amount of drug use. Those who have strong religious views were asked why they do not use drugs and their response was that it was against their beliefs. Vermont had the lowest percentage of religious residents and ranked third on the list for drug use. The other U.S. states followed the same path. This test also revealed that those with little to no religious beliefs were more likely to take harmful risks. People often try drugs for the first time because of the risk factor alone.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are support groups available to those struggling with addiction who are seeking to make a change. These programs are actually founded on religious beliefs. The handbooks and speakers all promote accepting a greater God and confiding in that God. They preach confessing sins committed when under the influence and giving away all of the external stressors to God. Bible verses and religion-based motivational quotes are shared. Also, each meeting ends with the Serenity Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer. Success rates for those who attend NA or AA meetings are much higher than for those who do not seek treatment.

So why would religion make a difference? For those that strongly believe in a higher power experience a “spiritual high” so there is no need for drug use to feel happy or euphoric. Others feel protected through their religion, so they look to God for answers instead of chemical dependence. Parents tend to have their children involved in youth groups, Bible studies, or other religion-based activities to keep them out of trouble. These activities promote positive spiritual relationships and spiritual well-being.

Having faith and believing in a higher power may improve many aspects of day to day life. The positivity and safety that comes from spirituality may also be an ideal answer to the drug use epidemic.

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