Two-Thirds of Americans Say Their Lives Have Been Affected by Addiction: Poll

Only 46% of those with addiction in their families say that person has received treatment.

HealthDay News Millions of Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and millions more struggle with an addicted family member or friend, a new KFF poll finds.

The poll of more than 1,300 US adults was conducted from July 11 to 19 either online or by telephone.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said either they or a family member have been addicted to alcohol or drugs, been homeless because of an addiction, or overdosed or died from drug use. Moreover, 19% say they themselves have been addicted to drugs or alcohol, had a drug overdose, or were homeless because of an addiction.

Addiction has been seen in 42% of people in rural areas and 33% of White adults. Yet, many people are not getting help. Only 46% of those with addiction in their families say that person got treatment. Among White adults, 51% got treatment compared with only 35% of Black and Hispanic adults.

Families affected by addiction say it has damaged family relationships (76%) and mental health (70%), while it stresses family finances (57%). Many families are also worried that their addicted loved one will overdose or unintentionally use the dangerous and potent drug fentanyl.

On the positive side, more people polled said their doctor (57%) talked to them about the pitfalls of prescription opioids, including the danger of addiction. Doctors (60%) were also more likely to offer alternative medications to manage pain.

“It’s pretty surprising to think about when we talk about addiction and issues with drugs and alcohol, we typically talk about them as isolated incidents,” Ashley Kirzinger, director of survey methodology at KFF (formerly known as Kaiser Family Foundation), told HealthDay. “I think what we’re seeing in this is that it’s not isolated. It’s impacting almost a majority of American families and when we ask about the impact that it’s had on them, a large share say that addiction issues have had an impact on their mental health and their family’s financial situation.”

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