Easy Access to Opioids Among Main Concerns of Americans

More US adults believe that it is easy to get access to opioids for unlawful use, with millennials believing this more so than baby boomers.

Newly released data from a national poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has shown that the American public appears to be greatly concerned about the national opioid crisis—the information revealed that 46% of Americans believe that the crisis is impacting people like themselves, up 9% from the previous year.

Announced at the APA’s annual meeting in New York City, the survey also revealed that 31% reported that they know someone who was or is addicted to opioids. It is estimated that roughly 2 million patients in the United States have some sort of substance disorder related to prescription opioid pain medicines, while overdose deaths related to both prescription and illicit opioid use doubled from 2010 to 2016, from roughly 21,000 to 42,000.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from prescription opioids—including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999, and with an estimated 91 Americans perishing each day from an opioid overdose.

“Our poll findings show that Americans are increasingly aware of the problem of opioid addiction and increasingly believe people can recover,” said Saul Levin, MD, MPA, the APA’s CEO and medical director, in a statement. “The crisis has become personal to many and they want to see treatment available for those affected. We are ready to work with the Administration and Congress to curb this national epidemic.”

According to the poll, 74% of US adults say they understand how accidental opioid addiction occurs, and 80% believe that people can recover from the condition, compared to 73% the previous year. In fact, 9% said they had taken an opioid painkiller without a prescription, while 5% said they had abused or been addicted to a prescription painkiller at some point (an increase of 1% from 2017).

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