A new study found that strong religious beliefs are linked to a reluctance to experiment with drugs.
According to the study from DrugAbuse.com in “Drugs and Devotion: Comparing Substance Abuse by Believers and Nonbelievers,” Americans who said they are not religious are more likely to have tried or used drugs, such as marijuana, heroin or Ecstasy.
Nonbelievers in the study were 12 times more likely to use LSD and more than four times likely to try cocaine.
According to The Washington Times, the least-religious state surveyed (32 percent said religion is “very important”), Vermont, had the third-highest rate of illicit drug use. However, the most religious state, Alabama (77 percent said religion was important), had the sixth lowest rate of illicit drug use.
“For me as a Christian, part of what my faith in Jesus does is it calls me to face reality ruthlessly in my own life and in the world around me,” said Greg Jao, director of campus engagement and vice president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
“And I think Christianity challenges you to actually experience God in the quotidian, day-to-day experience of life,” he said. “So my need for an altered, super high is quite low because, in fact, while I may not always be happy, there’s a deep experience of regular joy.”
However, Gen. Arthur Dean, chairman and CEO of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, said religion is just part of keeping people off drugs.
“Being involved in a religious service is what we would call a protective factor, which means that you are less apt to get involved in drugs or other negative activities that young people are involved in, if you are involved in some kind of a faith community,” Dean said.
“What we find is that involvement in structured activities, whether they be religious or whether they be sports or other kinds of activities, all serve as protective factors,” he said. “I believe if you did research on them, you would find similar results that you found on religion.”
Publication date: March 28, 2016