Americans favor treatment, not enforcement, to address opioid crisis

May 23, 2017, American Psychiatric Association

Many Americans have been directly touched by the opioid crisis—more than a quarter of Americans and more than a third of millennials, report knowing someone who has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers. More than two-thirds of Americans, 69 percent, say they "understand how someone accidentally gets addicted to opioids," according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association.

An estimated 2 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder related to prescription pain medication and more than 33,000 Americans died from an in 2015.

The APA poll reflects the view of easy access to opioids and painkillers. More than one-third of all adults (39 percent) and nearly half of millennials (46 percent) say that it would be extremely or somewhat easy for someone in their community to access illegal opioids/painkillers.

People who misuse opioids often get them from a family member or friend who has a prescription. The APA poll found that the vast majority of the U.S. population (87 percent) believes it is bad to take a prescription drug without a prescription. However, the poll shows differing perceptions among different generations.

  • 10 percent of baby boomers say taking a prescription drug without a prescription isn't that bad
  • 14 percent of Gen X'ers say it isn't bad
  • 18 percent, nearly 1 in 5, millennials say it's not that bad to take a prescription drug without a prescription

Most Americans believe people can recover from opioid addiction, but most do not believe the country is moving in the right direction to address the problem. Three out of four Americans (73 percent) believe people can recover from an opioid addiction and the number is even higher, more than 80 percent, among people who know someone who has been addicted. People who do not know someone who has been addicted are less likely to believe that people with an opioid addiction can recover.

Regardless of gender, age or income, only 20 percent of Americans believe that when it comes to addressing the opioid crisis, the country is headed in the right direction. A majority of Americans (58 percent) believe policymakers should prioritize access to treatment over stricter punishment (26 percent). Among Republicans, 51 percent, say treatment should be prioritized, 34 percent say that punishment should be prioritized. Among Democrats, 67 percent favor treatment and 18 percent punishment.

Explore further: US opioid crisis at epidemic proportions

Related Stories

US opioid crisis at epidemic proportions

May 4, 2017
Many US communities are facing an epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse that is straining resources from police, to jails, to emergency medical personnel and treatment centers.

7 in 10 U.S. workplaces hit by opioid abuse: survey

March 11, 2017
(HealthDay)—Prescription drug abuse has seeped into the American workplace, with 70 percent of businesses saying it affects their workers, a new survey reveals.

Poll: Most Americans see personal tie to rising prescription painkiller abuse

November 25, 2015
The growing abuse of prescription painkillers now touches home for a majority of Americans, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Drug overdose deaths increase significantly in past five years

December 16, 2016
Drug overdose deaths have increased by 33 percent in the past five years across the country, with some states seeing jumps of nearly 200 percent.

Utah launches campaign to fight opioid abuse, overdoses

April 30, 2017
Utah pharmacists will start putting red stickers on bottles of opioids that warn patients about the risk of overdose and addiction as part of a new awareness campaign to combat painkiller abuses and deaths.

DEA puts quota on production of opioid painkillers

October 6, 2016
(HealthDay)—The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it has mandated significant cuts in the production of powerful prescription opioid painkillers.

Recommended for you

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

Less is more when it comes to prescription opioids for hospital patients, study finds

May 14, 2018
In a pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Yale researchers significantly reduced doses of opioid painkillers given to hospital patients. By delivering the opioids with a shot under the skin or with a pill instead ...

Generic options provide limited savings for expensive drugs

May 7, 2018
Generic drug options did not reduce prices paid for the cancer therapy imatinib (Gleevec), according to a Health Affairs study released today in its May issue.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2017
250mg of healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid pheromone by mouth cures opioid addiction without withdrawal symptoms. The pheromone emits an airborne sub-pheromone which is emotionally toxic, resulting in superstition, suspicion, arrogance, stupidity, and jealousy. The sub-pheromone is an aversion pheromone emitted only when skin surface pheromone is collected. It can be controlled with strict use of fume hoods, sealed packaging with activated charcoal dunnage, supplied air respirators, and isolation of treated addicts for 40 days (the time it takes for the skin surface pheromone to "wear off" the saliva.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.