The U.S. is facing an epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction, and most Americans are personally affected by the problem, a new survey finds.
Two-thirds of adults reported that they or a family member are addicted to illegal or pharmaceutical drugs or alcohol, according to the KFF Health Tracking Poll.
And nearly 10 percent of people over the age of 18 said they’d lost a family member or friend to an overdose.
More than half of those surveyed, 54 percent, said someone in their family was addicted to alcohol, while 27 percent had a family member addicted to illegal drugs, such as heroin. Others reported that relatives were addicted to painkillers, overdosed on drugs, or had to be hospitalized because of their addiction.
Substance use disorders and addiction problems increased during the pandemic.
A separate one study found by KFF that the death rate from drug overdose increased by 50 percent in 2021 compared to 2019.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 110,000 people died of drug overdoses in the US last year, continuing the rise in drug-related deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The number of overdose deaths in 2022 was the highest number ever recorded in a calendar year, followed by 109,179 in 2021.
A recent survey found that two-thirds of Americans reported that they or a family member are addicted to drugs or alcohol, have become homeless due to addiction, or have been hospitalized for a drug overdose
Substance use disorders and addiction problems increased during the pandemic. A separate study from KFF found that the drug overdose death rate will increase 50 percent in 2021 compared to 2019
Thirteen percent of people told KFF Health Tracking Poll they think they are alcoholics and five percent say they feel addicted to prescription painkillers.
In addition to being directly affected by addiction, people fear the possibility of the disease.
About half of adults are concerned that someone in their family will experience substance abuse and a third are concerned that a family member will overdose on opioids.
About three quarters of those surveyed with a personal or family history of addiction said their experiences affected their relationships with family members. 70 percent said addiction was affecting their mental health and 57 percent said addiction was hurting their financial situation.
Despite the addiction epidemic, less than half of those affected by addiction, 46 percent, reported being treated for the disease, and those seeking help varied based on their addiction.
Of those who received treatment, 29 percent received it for an illegal drug addiction and 58 percent received treatment for an opioid addiction.
In addition, the number of people who suffer from addiction and receive help varies based on multiple factors, including income, race, and location.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents had a family member who was addicted to illegal drugs, such as heroin
Two-thirds of adults reported that they or a family member are addicted to illicit or pharmaceutical drugs or alcohol, according to KFF’s national poll
While 29 percent of those surveyed said they or someone in their family was addicted to opioids, that percentage rose to 42 percent of those living in rural areas.
Opioid addiction was also highest among whites, at 33 percent, compared to 23 percent and 28 percent for black and Hispanic people, respectively.
Among people with a personal or family history of addiction, whites were also the most likely to receive treatment, at 52 percent, compared to about a third of black and Hispanic people with a history of addiction.
Addiction also affects people differently based on income levels. While one in five adults report being personally addicted to drugs or alcohol, that proportion rises to 25 percent among those earning less than $40,000, declining as income rises. Sixteen percent of people with household incomes over $90,000 report being addicted.
With the crisis of addiction and intensification of overdoses, many suggestions have been made for how to manage and treat those suffering from addiction.
One of the proposed strategies is to set up treatment centers in neighborhoods, which is supported by 90 percent of the respondents.
Eighty-two percent support making Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdose, readily available in bars, health clinics and fire stations.
However, fewer people are in favor of safe consumption places, places where people can use illegal drugs under the supervision of trained personnel in an emergency. Less than half of those surveyed, 45 percent, support the controversial facilities.