Public Attitudes toward Substance Abuse
Kerbala Journal of Medicine,
2007, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 162-166
Substance abuse is growing problem in Iraq especially after 2003. Increase accessibility of drugs due to
increase trafficking through Iraq from neighboring countries, especially Afghanistan and Iran which has a
high incidence of substance use disorder ,causes a real concern for Iraqi health professionals .
Objective: To evaluate the attitudes and beliefs of population about substance abuse and addiction.
Method: Self-administered questionnaire including 19 items covered seven topics in substance use
disorders. Addiction models, dangerousness and criminality, age group, causes, treatment, prevention and
the future of the phenomenon in Iraq. It was distributed to 342 persons 190 males and 152 females, from
different occupations; school teachers, university students' theology students and governmental and
private sector employees.
Results: The majority (84.5%) believed that addiction is moral issue while (62.5%) regarded it as a
medical problem .About 70% viewed the abuser as dangerous. Only (18.5%) blamed the family as a cause
of addiction. Although (73%) believed in faith treatment, still (64%) believed in medical treatment.
Religion was cited as the most preventive factor (83%), and only (32%) believed that substance use
problems are growing in Iraq.
Conclusion: Some of the public beliefs are different from scientific facts, but consistent with other
cultural beliefs. Public mental health education should an essential part of substance abuse prevention
Key words: Public, Attitudes, Substance Abuse, Karbala, Iraq
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