Does use of illicit drugs affect attitude toward legalization?

A study by Trevino and Richard, sought to make that determination through ‘scientific’ evaluation.  The research acknowledges that “drug abuse continues to be a significant health and social problem in the United States,” and says that a NIDA/NIAA study estimated the economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse in 1992 to be $246 billion.  The authors also referred to a recent SAMHSA survey which reported that of those abusing illicit drugs in 1998, only 19% did not use marijuana or a combination of marijuana and other drugs.
The bottom line of the article, however, is that there were many variables depending on the age, gender, marital status, education, income, political affiliation, religious views, employment, and the kind of drug/drugs being used.  Females had the lowest support for legalization of marijuana, and single individuals displayed the most support for legalization of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.  However, the results show that respondents who had a higher consumption of marijuana were more likely to support the legalization of marijuana, but less likely to support the legalization of cocaine and heroin.  Individuals who consumed more crack, cocaine, heroin, speedball, and/or methamphetamines were more likely to support the legalization of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
These results suggest that previous research on drug legalization may be biased if the respondent is himself/herself a drug user and that drug users may ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ legalization depending on which drugs are targeted and which drugs, and frequency of them, they themselves use.R

Reference: Attitudes Towards Drug Legalization Among Drug Users, Trevino & Richard, American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse (2002)

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