AP-NORC Study: Americans Recognize the Growing Problem of Opioid Addiction

More Americans see opioid addiction as a significant issue for their community today than in 2016, according to a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Forty-three percent of Americans say the use of prescription pain drugs is a serious problem in their community, up from 33 percent two years ago. Additionally, 37 percent see heroin as a serious concern locally, up from 32 percent in 2016.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the opioid epidemic in the United States is spreading across the country and affecting Americans of all kinds, with two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involving a prescription or illegal opioid.

Moving from the community into the home, a majority of Americans report having experience with substance misuse of various types, and 13 percent have had a relative or close friend die from an opioid overdose. Although 53 percent of the public sees prescription drug addiction as a disease, many regard addiction as a behavioral failing instead. Forty-four percent say opioid addiction indicates a lack of willpower or discipline; 32 percent say it is caused by a character defect or bad parenting. And less than 1 in 5 Americans are willing to associate closely with someone who is addicted to prescription drugs as a friend, colleague, or neighbor.

Read more of the 2018 report from the Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.