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Increase in Opiate Use Touches Most Americans

As the opiate epidemic continues to grow, more Americans are reporting that this crisis has affected their family. A poll that was released on the eighth of December showed that the majority, 56%, of the nation now has a personal stake in stemming the growing tide of painkiller and heroin addiction. The poll, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released these results from a monthly poll that they conduct.

This number includes people who have known someone who was addicted to painkillers or where addicted themselves, those who knew people who overdosed, or those who know people who have used painkillers that were not prescribed to them. The poll itself showed:

-16% of people polled said that they know someone who died from opiates, with 9% of that number stating that that persona was a close friend or a member of their family

-27% of people polled said they had/are addicted to painkillers or that they have known a close friend or member of their family who was

-63% of white persons say that they have had a personal connection or close ties to the abuse of painkillers. 44% of African Americans and 37% of Hispanics stated the same.

In addition to the polls about personal ties to the opiate epidemic, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll asked about the priorities of the community. Half of those that were surveyed stated that prescription and heroin abuse should be a top priority for their state. This response was only behind the need to focus on public education (76%) and accessible and affordable health care (68%).

The poll also asked about opinions regarding Naloxone, a powerful drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose and has been used across the country with positive effects. Sixty-two percent of those polled stated that Naloxone should be available by prescription just as methadone is available to those who are trying to get away from their addictions. Currently, this life-saving drug is available in certain states without a prescription or is given away at little or no cost, with many health officials and drug enforcement teams carrying it with them.

The poll addressed whether those surveyed found that preventative care and efforts to reduce those who become addicted would be useful. Many Americans believe that the efforts would be somewhat effective, depending on what the specific treatment offered was. 85 percent of people believe that providing treatment to addicts is effective, 82 percent find that the national opiate database is an effective tool, and 69 percent believe that education and encouragement of proper medication disposal are effective.

These numbers echo many across the nation, with communities crying out for additional support from their national and local government as more and more Americans become addicted to prescription painkillers and other opiates. While there are many programs that are being rolled out to address these concerns, many are worried that it may not be enough for their community.

This poll was conducted on November tenth and was taken by 1,352 adults from across the U.S. The margin of error for these results is +/- 3 percentage points.

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