By Lisa Gillespie
Kaiser Health News
The fight against the growing abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin is not robust enough at any level — not federal and state governments’ efforts or those of doctors and users themselves, according to most Americans in a new poll out Tuesday.
Lack of access to care for those with substance abuse issues is a major problem, said 58 percent of those surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the Foundation.)
The poll found that Americans had somewhat different views of heroin and prescription drug abuse. More than a third called heroin abuse an extremely serious health problem in the U.S., while just over a quarter of those surveyed said the same about the abuse of strong prescription painkillers. In contrast, fewer than a fifth regarded alcohol abuse in the same way.
The fight against opioid abuse has generated heavy news coverage in recent months, as well as government concerns. President Barack Obama recently proposed adding $1 billion to the federal budget for treatment programs. Yet more than 60 percent of respondents generally faulted federal efforts as too little. Similar shares were dissatisfied with state governments’ actions and those of doctors who prescribe painkillers, the Kaiser poll found.
But more than 70 percent believed drug users themselves aren’t doing enough. Continue reading