Many in U.S. know someone affected by or who died from opioids

May 11, 2023 – In a recent survey, 3 in 10 U.S. adults said they know someone who has been directly affected by opioid addiction, and more than half of that group said they know someone who died from using opioids. In addition, 1 in 7 adults reported that they’d been directly impacted by opioid addiction.

The findings came from a Morning Consult survey of 666 adults conducted between March 31 and April 2.

Michael Barnett, associate professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, commented on the findings in a May 2 article in Morning Consult. He said that the opioid epidemic has “affected the lives of practically every American in one way or another—if not their own family, then a friend or someone who’s close to their family. We can see the ripple effects almost everywhere.”

The article noted that overdose deaths have surged in recent years, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing use of fentanyl.

With the U.S. transitioning out of the COVID-19 public health emergency, more resources may become available to address the opioid epidemic—but people are likely to continue to die from drug overdoses for some time, said Barnett.

“I’m optimistic that we’re going to make a lot of policy progress in the next four to five years,” he said. “I’m extremely pessimistic that we are going to move quickly enough to prevent hundreds of thousands of additional deaths.”

Read the Morning Consult article: 3 in 10 Americans Say They Know Someone Affected by Opioid Addiction Amid Surge in U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths

Learn more

A crisis on top of a crisis: COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic (Harvard Chan School release)