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Poll Shows More Should Be Done To Stem Opioid Abuse

In a new poll that was recently released, most Americans think that more effort should be dedicated towards addressing the issue of drug abuse. They are of the opinion that the different concerned parties, that is the state and federal governments, medical practitioners and even the addicts themselves, are not doing enough to solve this problem. The United States has struggled with the issues of heroin and prescription painkillers abuse for a long time and in spite of all the efforts being made to contain the crisis, not much progress has been realized.

The poll was conducted by the Kaiser Family foundation. According to 58 percent of the respondents, the biggest problem for those addicted to drugs is the lack of access to proper healthcare. This could be attributed to few addiction treatment centers or financial constraints when it comes to undergoing treatment. The poll also determined that most Americans have varied perceptions about the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs. More than a third of those interviewed saw heroin addiction as an extremely serious health issue in the United States while only slightly over a quarter of those polled felt the same way about addiction to prescription painkillers. This was in contrast to the less than a fifth who viewed alcohol abuse in the same manner.

There has been a lot of news coverage recently concerning the fight to curb the abuse of opioids. The government has also raised major concerns regarding this vice and the need to find a lasting solution. In a bid to establish more treatment centers, President Barack Obama proposed that an additional $1 billion should be added to the federal budget. This move seems to be too little to most Americans who were polled since more than 60 percent of them felt that the federal government is not doing enough to stem this crisis. The poll also found that similar sentiments were held about state governments' efforts and the doctors who give painkiller medication prescriptions. Interestingly, more than 70 percent of those interviewed were of the opinion that the addicts themselves are not doing enough to remedy the situation.

The issue of drug abuse is not new to many Americans since more than four in every ten people interviewed admitted to knowing someone who has been abusing prescription painkillers while one in every five said that the person was a relative.

When it came to the issue of probable policy moves, these steps were seen as very or somewhat effective by more than eight in every ten respondents:

*Improving pain management training for doctors and medical students

*Opening up more access to addiction treatment centers

*Putting more effort in creating public awareness and establishing education programs

*Conducting more research on pain and its management

*Regulating doctors that prescribe painkillers

Other issues covered in the poll included access to mental health services and health plans applied for. The poll also established that many people are not aware of the federal government insurance requirements for the provision of mental health benefits and treatment of substance abuse. The poll was conducted between the 12th and 19th of April this year using a sample of 1,201 adults. The error margin is +/- 3 percentage points.
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