Four in ten Americans know someone addicted to opioids, survey finds

“Four in ten Americans know someone addicted to opioids, this survey finds. It is more prevalent than it is apparent. If someone’s behavior is off, and it wasn’t, suspect, they have a health problem that is being treated with opioids.” Bill Chesnut, MD

Four in ten Americans know someone addicted to opioids, survey finds

The Washington Post (11/24, Bernstein) reports that nearly four in 10 Americans “know someone who has been addicted to prescription” pain medications, “including 25 percent who say it was a close friend or family member and 2 percent who acknowledge their own addiction, according to a new poll” released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey also found that 16 percent of people say they know someone who has died from an opioid overdose. The Post adds that by “a margin of 77 percent to 58 percent, those polled say it is easy to get non-prescribed” pain medications “than say it is easy for people who medically need the drugs to get them.”

Bloomberg News (11/24, Tozzi) reports that the demographics of those “touched by the crisis skew white, higher-income, college-educated, younger, and male.” According to the article, drug overdoses “are eclipsing car crashes as a leading cause of accidental death for American adults.”

Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, writes on the Wall Street Journal (11/24) “Washington Wire” blog that the broad impact of opioid addiction means the issue will likely gain more political traction.

Sen. Shaheen proposes $600 million in additional funding to fight opioid abuse TheAP (11/24, Ramer) reports that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) “is proposing $600 million in emergency funding to address” an opioid abuse “crisis that she says is spiraling out of control.” Shaheen, who announced her funding bill yesterday, said, “This should be an all-hands-on-deck moment, not just for New Hampshire but for our country.” According to the AP, most of the money in Shaheen’s proposal would go to HHS, including $250 million distributed to states as block grants for prevention and treatment programs. The CDC “would get $50 million to support work on prescription monitoring and other programs, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse would get $35 million for targeted research on drug addiction.”

AMA newsletter, November, 2015.