AimsTo investigate potentially crucial aspects of Swedes' perceptions of nine different addictions
Data and methodsPopulation survey, sent out to 2,000 adult Swedes (18-74 years), focusing on the perceived severity of, responsibility for, options to recover from, and character of addiction to cigarettes, snuff, alcohol, cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, medical drugs, and gambling.
ResultsThere are large differences in the ways in which various addiction problems are perceived. Whereas tobacco use, and to some extent gambling, are seen as relatively harmless "habits", not particularly easy to get hooked on but easy to quit, the use of drugs such as heroin, amphetamine, and cocaine is seen as a major societal problem, and users are seen both as "sinners" who need to mend their ways and as powerless "victims". In between comes the use and misuse of alcohol, cannabis and medical drugs, about which perceptions are more divided.
ConclusionsRespondents tend to downplay the risks and dangers with addictive habits that are common and familiar in mainstream culture, and to dramatise the risks and dangers with such habits that are uncommon or "strange". This may have unfortunate consequences for addicts' options to find a path out of their predicaments.
Helsinki: THL , 2009. Vol. 26, no 4, 373-398 p.