A recent survey regarding the current painkiller epidemic that is affecting the U.S. showed that nearly half of all Americans know someone who has been addicted to prescription opioids. The majority of the people in the survey also felt that the U.S. government is not doing enough to minimize the level of addiction that is becoming such a huge problem in the nation.
The results of the survey were released by the Kaiser Family Foundation as a response to the significant increase in the abuse of painkillers and the alarming rates of opioid overdose that have been plaguing the country. The survey showed that a large majority of Americans believe that one of the major problems contributing to the epidemic is the lack of access to care for people suffering from a substance abuse problem.
Personal Experience with Addiction
Research has shown that in 2014, nearly 19,000 people died from overdoses of prescription painkillers. Prescription drug and heroin overdoses have become so common that about 80 people die from opioid overdoses a day in the U.S. Although the Obama administration plans to spend more than $1 billion in order to combat opioid addiction, most Americans believe that there are still significant problems that the government needs to address.
The survey revealed how much this type of addiction has touched everyone in some way and reached the average person. According to the findings, 44 percent of Americans said they personally know someone who has been addicted to painkillers. Of those people 26 percent said the addict they knew was an acquaintance, 21 percent said it was a close friend and 20 percent said it was a family member. Out of the 1,201 adults that were questioned in the survey, 2 percent said that they themselves were addicted to opioids.
Looking for Effective Solutions
In addition to highlighting the extent to which opioid addiction has reached most Americans, the survey also brought to light some of the dissatisfaction people felt with how the problem is being handled. According to the survey, 58 percent of the general public believes that lack of access to treatment for substance abusers is a significant issue in the country.
Those that knew an addict themselves were more inclined to believe that lack of access to treatment is a major problem. The survey also found that people believed heroin abuse to be a more serious problem in spite of the fact that fewer people die from heroin overdose than from prescription painkillers.
The public was also not satisfied with how much the government is doing to fight the abuse of all types of opioids at the federal and the state level. Of those questioned, 66 percent said that federal government is not doing enough to combat painkiller abuse and 67 percent said that the state governments are not doing enough to fight opioid abuse. Most people in the survey said that the police are doing enough to fight prescription abuse with only 37 percent believing law enforcement should do more.
Many people in the survey felt dissatisfied with efforts to combat abuse and believed that other solutions could be helpful in fighting the problem. They believe that there are many effective strategies that could be employed such as increasing pain management training, increasing access to treatment programs, creating more public education and awareness programs, engaging in more research about pain and pain management and monitoring doctor’s prescription habits.
Most people in the U.S. have had some type of personal experience or have witnessed prescription addiction. Many people agree that the government could be doing more to combat the problem and that Americans need easier access to addiction treatment to help decrease rates of abuse.