Despite the fact that the prescription painkiller epidemic has been a massive problem for years in the United States, researchers have just recently conducted what they believe is the first national public opinion study on the subject. After gathering results from the poll, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health concluded that the public is ready for significant changes to current laws and policies regarding the use and dispensing of prescription painkillers.
“This study shows that many Americans have had direct experience using prescription pain relievers and a sizable share has misused or abused these medications themselves or has close friends or family members who have done so. The seriousness of the issue has become salient with the American public,” explained the study leader.
The study found that 70% of Americans have been prescribed narcotic painkillers in their lifetime, and 17% have taken painkillers that were prescribed for someone else. Despite the high percentage of people whom these new laws might effect, the overwhelming majority are still in favor of having safer prescribing practices and dispensing methods. It’s not all that surprising, though, given the sheer number of deaths each year attributed to painkiller overdose.
The survey was conducted via an online poll of more than 1,100 people around the country in February of 2014. It covered not just the use and abuse of painkillers, but also public opinion surrounding the various components, including more education about addiction for prescribers and additional monitoring programs at pharmacies.