One of the biggest problems in fighting addiction is the public’s perspective of it. Many consider it a moral failing, and there’s been a great deal of work and effort into turning this viewpoint around, but for now, there is still a great stigma against people who suffer from addiction.
As Statnews reports, “A slim majority of Americans see prescription drug addiction as a disease that requires medical treatment, but most would not welcome those suffering from the problem into their neighborhoods, workplaces, or families.” And these poll results “reveal Americans’ complex view of addiction as the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history ripples through communities nationwide.”
And indeed, the current opioid crisis gives a new sense of urgency in turning around the stigma against people who need help, yet these poll results show that old attitudes towards people who suffer from addiction are still prevalent. In a report on WXXI News, “more than three-quarters of New Yorkers who responded to a Siena College survey about the opioid crisis say the moral failings of those who are addicted is a contributing factor in the epidemic.”
The poll also showed that many feel that opioids being overprescribed is the main factor that is fueling the current epidemic. In addition, two-thirds of the people polled for this study felt that the government isn’t doing enough to fight the opioid crisis. “They want to see more drug abuse prevention programs in schools, more funding for treatment and rehabilitation, and more resources for law enforcement to track down drug dealers,” this story continues.
Siena College had done a previous survey where 54% of New Yorkers polled were affected by the opioid problem, and one in four people polled knew someone who died of opioids.
The Hill also reports that another poll taken this April by the Associated Press – NORC Center For Public Affairs Research states that 43% of Americans feel the use of prescription painkillers is a very big problem in their communities. Yet 54% of the people polled for this particular study feel that addiction to prescription drugs is indeed a disease, which means that the people polled here were more sympathetic to addiction, while 44% feel it’s a result of not having strong willpower, and 32% feel it comes from character flaws or growing up in a bad family.