HANOVER, N.H.—There is a powerful correlation between lack of non secular attendance and illicit drug use, analysis exhibits in contrasting two states hit laborious by the opioid disaster.

The parallels are demonstrated by two comparative research of New Hampshire and West Virginia.

West Virginia suffers from an ailing financial system, whereas New Hampshire has a powerful financial system, famous J. Scott Moody, CEO of the Granite Institute, a conservative assume tank. The institute takes its identify from the truth that New Hampshire is named the Granite State.

“It’s not simply economics inflicting the overdose issues. There are different components,” Moody advised The Daily Signal.

Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik, co-directors of the American Conservative Union’s Family Prosperity Index, issued the West Virginia report in September and the 2017 Family Prosperity Index report in February.

The February examine reveals a regional downside.

A big and rising body of proof exhibits that not solely can faith assist stop folks from utilizing illicit medication, nevertheless it additionally performs a powerful function in efficient therapy packages. … The northeastern states dominate the upper-left quadrant of the chart [see page 123], the place low religiosity is correlated with excessive drug use, whereas deep southern states and Utah dominate the decrease proper quadrant, the place excessive religiosity is correlated with low drug use.

Moody famous that New Hampshire has a significant issue, not solely with opioid dependancy, but additionally a associated downside with a excessive suicide fee. One in 10 younger adults say they’ve had suicidal ideas.

“You should ask, why is that? Our financial system is booming. We’re just about at full employment. Anybody who desires a job can discover a job,” Moody stated. “So we checked out extra social-type points. For instance, New Hampshire is among the least non secular states within the nation. It’s New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. It’s a race to the underside. … We counsel there’s a sturdy correlation between illicit drug use and spiritual attendance.”

By distinction, knowledge appears to be exhibiting some enchancment in West Virginia, he stated.

“Ironically, West Virginia is far more non secular than northern New England, and that has really suppressed their illicit drug use, which was a constructive for West Virginia, however they nonetheless have a suicide downside together with it,” Moody stated.

The Family Prosperity Index discovered that “[b]etween 2000 and 2015, New Hampshire’s drug overdose fee elevated by 724 p.c to 0.033 p.c (2nd highest) from 0.004 p.c. Over the identical time interval, the nationwide common grew by 148 p.c to 0.017 p.c from 0.007 p.c.”

West Virginia’s illicit drug use fee as a p.c of inhabitants exceeded the nationwide common in most years; nonetheless, the state has seen some reversals.

The examine launched in September says, “In 2014, West Virginia has the 20th-lowest illicit drug use fee (besides marijuana) at 2.5 p.c and the second-lowest regionally, simply forward of Virginia (2.3 p.c, 14th-lowest).”

The findings present:

While West Virginia’s present low rating is encouraging, the latest bounce-back between 2013 and 2014 suggests continued vigilance is required, as it could point out a return to the next illicit drug use fee (besides marijuana) within the years forward (maybe to ranges of the close to previous between 2004 and 2010).

A big cause for why West Virginia’s illicit drug use fee is comparatively low is because of the state’s above-average non secular attendance. In 2015, 44 p.c of West Virginians attended church no less than as soon as per week (tied for the 17th-highest with Missouri and Indiana), which is 16 p.c above the nationwide common of 38 p.c.

Regionally, West Virginia had the second-highest degree of religiosity trailing solely Kentucky (47 p.c, 10th-highest). All different neighboring states have been decrease in religiosity: Virginia (42 p.c, 22nd-highest), Ohio (40 p.c, 23rd-highest), and Pennsylvania (38 p.c, 31st-highest).

The analysis measures religiosity utilizing Gallup knowledge, which has tracked weekly church attendance since 2008.

Other nationwide analysis backs this up extra broadly on drug use.

The stories level to a 2001 examine, “So Help Me God: Substance Abuse, Religion and Spirituality,”  from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse that discovered:

“[A]dults who by no means attend non secular providers are nearly twice as more likely to drink, three time likelier to smoke, greater than 5 instances likelier to have used a bootleg drug apart from marijuana, nearly seven instances likelier to binge drink and nearly eight instances likelier to make use of marijuana than those that attend non secular providers no less than weekly … .

“[T]eens who by no means attend non secular providers are twice as more likely to drink, greater than twice as more likely to smoke, greater than 3 times likelier to make use of marijuana and binge drink, and nearly 4 instances likelier to make use of illicit medication than teenagers who attend non secular providers no less than weekly.

A 2005 examine, “Faith Matters: Race/Ethnicity, Religion and Substance Use,” from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a analysis heart centered on training and alternatives for younger folks, discovered:

Religion is a vital protecting issue towards substance abuse and an vital assist for individuals in restoration. Religious individuals are much less possible than others to make use of medication and fewer more likely to expertise destructive drug-related penalties.

The workplace of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, can be conducting the Social Capital Project, a multiyear analysis effort taking a look at “associational life,” which incorporates households, communities, workplaces, and spiritual congregations. The report doesn’t single out faith as a mitigating issue to dependancy, however notes that isolation is a significant trigger.

“Studies present that social networks affect the conduct of their members, affecting whether or not they’re overweight or match, completely happy or unhappy,” the Lee challenge says. “The stark truth is that socially remoted folks and others with out social assist die youthful. Even amongst folks with satisfactory social assist, well being standing is linked to the well being of their buddies, household, and colleagues.”

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