(Mirror Daily, United States) – The crisis is still pronounced, as half of Americans know someone addicted to painkillers, according to a new study. Opioid abuse and addiction are serious concerns in the United States, especially for the commonly prescribed pain meds. Reportedly, they’re easy to get, and often become misused.
The Kaiser Family foundation conducted a survey on 1,352 people between November 10th and November 17th, focused on the use of prescription painkillers. Their inquiries included medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine. The issue is major in the United States, currently undergoing an opioid abuse epidemic that claimed over 16,000 lives in 2013.
Other dangerous drugs, such as heroin, killed just over 8,200 people in the same year.
According to their findings, 56% of the survey’s respondents claimed they had personal connections to the issue of opioid addiction or abuse. This meant that over half of Americans know someone on prescription painkillers, know someone who has been addicted to the pain meds (39%), or have even known someone who sadly died from prescription painkiller overdose (16%).
Among those in the latter category, 9% reported that the departed victim of opioid abuse was a close friend or even family member.
The issue is becoming rapidly more common, and it’s in spite of numerous campaigns that aim to fight against it. Both careful surveillance and attentive prescriptions are encouraged. This is accompanied by numerous projects that prompt patients to dispose of their meds from their medicine cabinets once they’re no longer in use. This way, it prevents others from stealing and abusing the perilous drugs.
The survey found that the personal connection to prescription painkiller abuse is most common among the white participants (63%), followed by black participants (44%), and then Hispanics (37%). It was also more common among those with high incomes (63%) who made $90,000 or more, than those of low income (56%) who made $40,000 or under.
In regards to age, the connection to painkillers was just as common between young people and middle-aged participants. It stood at 62% for people between 18 to 29 years old, and at a close 61% for those between 30 and 49 years old.
By a relatively large margin though, between 58-77%, the participants claimed that it’s rather easy to get even non-prescribed painkillers. This triggers another issue in terms of addiction.
It has also led to around half of the respondents to state that this should be a top priority for lawmakers. This included 76% of them claiming a need for better public education on the subject of addiction to painkillers, and 68% of them stating that healthcare should be more accessible and affordable.