As a country, we still have a long way to go! Many people do not have a problem sharing their pain medications with friends and family members. However, the number of people viewing medication diversion as a problem is growing. More Americans than ever, consider alcohol and substance use disorder as a disease and a treatable mental health disorder. Even still, efforts to raise public awareness and take the pulse of society regarding drug use remains of the utmost importance. A survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research aims to do just that, giving us a clear picture of areas that need consideration.
"In the national effort to grapple with the enormous issue of opioid addiction, it is important to know the level of awareness and understanding of Americans who find themselves in the midst of an epidemic that is claiming growing numbers of lives," said Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of public health at NORC. "This survey provides important, and in some cases troubling, information."
Opioid Addiction in America
NORC at the University of Chicago reports that Americans view the scourge of opioid abuse as a much more significant problem than just two years ago, according to the Associated Press. In 2016, only 33 percent saw prescription opioid misuse as a major issue; in two years' time, that figure rose by ten-percent. The survey shows that 13 percent have lost a relative or close friend to an opioid overdose.
"The number of people who recognize how serious the opioid epidemic is in this nation is growing," said Trevor Tompson, vice president for public affairs research at NORC. "There is clearly a continuing challenge to ensure that what is learned about the crisis is grounded in fact."
The survey found that:
- Two-thirds of respondents say their community is not doing enough to make treatment programs accessible and affordable or to find improved methods of treating addiction.
- Sixty-four percent would like to see more effort to crack down on drug dealers.
- Fifty-seven percent of Americans have experience dealing with substance misuse ranging from taking a painkiller that wasn't prescribed to overdosing.
- Twenty-four percent say they have an addicted relative, close friend, or that they (themselves) are addicted to opioids.
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, involving either prescription drugs or heroin, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. We can help you break the destructive cycle of opioid addiction and provide you with the tools and skills necessary for achieving lasting recovery.