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APA Survey Says 1-in-4 Americans Knows Someone With An Addiction To Painkillers

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APA Survey Says 1-in-4 Americans Knows Someone With An Addiction To Painkillers

According to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), more than a quarter of Americans and one-third of Millennials report they know someone who has an addiction to painkillers or illicit opioids.

Dr. Saul Levin, CEO and Medical Director, APA:

“Our poll findings show that American area aware of the problem…[who] believe people can recover and want to see an emphasis on making treatment available.

The survey revealed a wealth of critical and concerning findings. These include:

  • Most survey respondents also believe that treatment is preferable to addiction issues being handled by law enforcement.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents said they understand how a person could accidentally get addicted to opioids.
  • Almost 40% said it would be easy for someone in their community to access illegal opioids, and almost half of all millennials agreed.
  • Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that it is not a good idea to consume a prescription drug without a prescription, despite the fact that opioid abusers tend to get their medication from relatives and friends.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) believe that recovery from opioid addiction is possible. And 4-in-5 say they know someone who was addicted and recovered.
  • Only 1-in-10 respondents in the baby boomer generation said it’s no big deal to take a prescription drug without a prescription, but 18% of millennials thought it was okay.


“The number of young people, 1 in 5, who believe it’s OK to share prescriptions is troubling.”

Political Beliefs

  • About 1-in-5 believe the U.S. is heading in the right direction to tackle the opioid crisis.
  • Fifty-eight percent believe lawmakers should make access to treatment a priority. Half of all Republicans and one-third of Democrats would like to see increased priority regarding treatment access.
  • About one-quarter overall advocate for stricter punishment. This number reflects one-third of Republicans, but just 18% of Democrats.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two million Americans have a substance abuse disorder related to illicit and prescription opiates or opioids. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans lost their lives to an overdose related to these drugs.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A, Psychology

SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association, news release, May 22, 2017

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