A new poll finds that 56 percent of Americans say they or someone they know has abused, been addicted to or died from prescription painkillers.
Almost half say they personally know someone who has taken a prescription painkiller that was not prescribed to them.
The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 39 percent of Americans say they know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, including 2 percent who say they personally have been addicted, and 25 percent who say a close friend or family member has been addicted.
The poll found 16 percent say they know someone who has died from a prescription painkiller overdose, including 9 percent who said the person was a family member or close friend.
The findings come from interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,352 respondents, Bloomberg Business reports.
Whites are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to say they have a personal connection to prescription painkillers, the poll found. Young and middle-aged Americans are more likely than adults 65 and older to say they have a personal connection.
Half of respondents said reducing the number of people who abuse prescription painkillers or heroin should be a top priority for their state legislators, compared with 76 percent who want their legislators to focus on improving education, 68 percent who want them to focus on the accessibility and affordability of health care, and 64 percent who want them to focus on reducing crime.
Sixty-three percent of Americans say they think “‘Good Samaritan” laws are a good idea. These laws allow people who call for emergency medical help for a drug overdose for themselves or others to avoid arrest for having or using the illicit drug.