- Nearly 3 out of 4 admit they do not know the Republican or Democrat position regarding opioid addiction.
- 70% of respondents believe doctors prescribe opioids too freely.
- Infographic included.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging on, healthcare continues to be a main concern for many voters in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. In addition to the spread of the coronavirus itself, at least 40 states across America have reported spikes in opioid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. According to data from the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, the U.S. saw an 18% in opioid overdoses in March 2020 as compared to the same month last year; a 29% increase in April 2020; and an alarming 42% increase in May 2020 as the pandemic continued. These statistics make it clear that the U.S. is dealing with an ever-growing opioid epidemic within a pandemic.
However, despite these alarming figures, Rehabs.com, a leading addiction treatment resource, conducted a survey of 2,940 voters (aged 18+) which found that one in four (25%) voters in The Grand Canyon State say that combating the opioid crisis has slipped down their order of priorities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Given the profound impact the virus has unleashed, it is perhaps unsurprising that people fall back on core issues such as mainstream healthcare and the economy during these unprecedented times.
Broken down across the country, voters from Louisiana felt most strongly about this, with 71% saying that the opioid epidemic has become less important to them in the upcoming election. Comparatively, this figure was just 13% in Kentucky, which indicates voters in the Bluegrass state still consider drug addiction as an important issue for them.
The survey also revealed that more than one in four (26%) voters believe funds previously set aside for public opioid treatment facilities should now be diverted to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half (52%) of respondents say they know someone who has been affected by addiction, suggesting the deep prevalence of substance use disorders in society. 70% of voters admit they do not know what the current position on the treatment of opioid addiction is from either of the two main parties.
Three in four (70%) respondents in Arizona believe doctors prescribe opioids too freely. According to a report by the CDC, almost one in three (32%) opioid overdose deaths involved prescription opioids.
Finally, the survey also found that despite opioid addiction falling down their list of concerns, one in three voters say they would support paying higher taxes if it meant better treatment and facilities for people with opioid use disorder.
“We can’t afford to be apathetic about the opioid crisis with more than 40 states reporting an increase in opioid-related deaths, and overdose deaths surpassing COVID-19 deaths in some states,” said Fran Myers-Routt, clinical director at River Oaks Treatment Center and spokesperson for Rehabs.com. “We have two crises that require us to remain vigilant on both fronts. Some of the actions that reduce the spread of the coronavirus, such as social distancing and quarantining, are the very circumstances that can lead to a relapse and subsequent overdose. Improving access to care and removing any barrier to treatment is critical to saving lives and must be on top of the political agenda during these unprecedented times.”