APA: Americans Believe Treatment, Not Punishment, Best for Opioid Crisis

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Only 20% of respondents believe the country is heading in the right direction in terms of tackling the opioid crisis.
Only 20% of respondents believe the country is heading in the right direction in terms of tackling the opioid crisis.

HealthDay News — More than a quarter of Americans — and 1 in 3 millennials — say they know someone addicted to opioids, according to a new survey released May 22 by the American Psychiatric Association.

The survey was conducted in late April. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they "understand how someone accidentally gets addicted to opioids." Thirty-nine percent said it would be extremely or somewhat easy for someone in their community to access illegal opioids, according to the survey. Almost half of millennials (46%) agreed with that statement. The poll found that 87% of respondents believe it is bad to take a prescription drug without a prescription.

There were significant differences between generations. Among baby boomers, 10% said taking a prescription drug without a prescription isn't that bad. But among millennials, 18% weren't concerned about taking a drug without a prescription. Most respondents (73%) believe people can recover from an opioid addiction. More than 80% of people who've known someone who has been addicted and recovered believe that people can get better. Yet, only 20% of respondents believe the country is heading in the right direction in terms of tackling the opioid crisis.

Fifty-eight percent believe policymakers should prioritize access to treatment. Only about one-quarter (26%) think stricter punishment is needed. Half of Republicans and two-thirds of Democrats would like to see access to treatment receive priority. One-third of Republicans would like to see stricter punishments. Just 18% of Democrats felt that way, the survey responses revealed.

Reference

Americans favor treatment, not enforcement, to address opioid crisis; many Americans believe access to illegal opioids and painkillers is easy; one in five millennials think it's ok to share prescription medicine [news release]. American Psychiatric Association; May 22, 2017. https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/americans-favor-treatment-not-enforcement-to-address-opioid-crisis. Accessed May 25, 2017.

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