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SUBSTANCE ABUSE IS DECLINING IN UTAH

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Utahns are consuming less tobacco, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol than they did in 1989. But those who do drink consume greater quantities and drink more often now than three years ago, pollster Dan Jones told a conference of drug and anti-alcohol experts.

Jones on Tuesday outlined in general a few of the findings from a recent survey conducted by his firm, Dan Jones & Associates Inc., for the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse.The findings for the most part are positive, but they also show there still are gaps in the fight against substance abuse, Jones said.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Utah, followed by tobacco. The state has "significantly" lower usage rates than the rest of the nation for the most widely used drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

But Utahns appear to have rates higher than the rest of the country in use of sedatives, stimulants and analgesics.

The survey asked questions of 2,392 people in confidential face-to-face sessions between May and August.

Jones said one thing he found worrisome was the level of mistrust and refusal to take part in the survey by many minority people, especially American Indians.

He said his 90 surveyors talked to equal numbers of men and women, and females were more concerned about drug abuse.

"I say to the males of Utah that this is not just a problem for the mother," Jones said in a speech that included warnings about the risks that abuse of alcohol and other drugs, coupled with apathy, pose to democracy.

Jones' mix of good and bad news was attentively received by the 665-member audience at the Yarrow Hotel in Park City. Due to heavy attendance, conference activities also are being held at the Radisson Inn.

The three-day conference is sponsored by the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse, Utah Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Providers, Utah State Board of Substance Abuse, Southwest Regional Center for Drug Free Schools and Communities, and the Utah State Office of Education.

Gov. Norm Bangerter lauded the work done by conference attendees in the battle against substance abuse. His wife, Colleen, who has taken an active role in drug prevention efforts, received a standing ovation after a tearful speech in which she thanked her "many friends" for their part in the war on drugs.

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(Additional information)

Details of substance abuse by Utahns

Other findings from the Dan Jones survey:\ - One in four adult Utahns consumed an alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days, and nearly one in five used some form of tobacco.

- The regular use of alcohol by Utah's 12- to 17-year-olds is less than half the figure for youths nationally. Tobacco and marijuana use among this age group also is less than for youths nationally, but not by as great a difference.

- The state's youths (ages 12-17) report higher rates of using stimulants and hallucinogens than their national counterparts but have approximately equal rates for other drug use.

- Utahns age 18-25 are responsible for most of the declines in usage rates for tobacco, alcohol and cocaine. Much smaller declines are reported among residents ages 26 and older. However, 18-to-25-year-olds are more likely than those over the age of 25 to have used these drugs in the past 30 days.