Poll: 43 Percent of Americans Say Relative or Close Friend Has Substance Use Issue

A new poll finds 43 percent of Americans say they have a relative or close friend with a substance use issue, and 62 percent say at least one type of substance use is a serious problem in their community, the Associated Press reports.

The national Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found seven in 10 Americans believe not enough is being done to find better addiction treatment or to make treatment programs more accessible. Sixty-one percent want to see more effort made to crack down on drug dealers.

The poll found 61 percent of respondents said they support legalizing marijuana. One-third endorse legalization with no restrictions, while 43 percent say there should be restrictions on purchase amounts. One-quarter of those who support legalization only approve of its use when prescribed by a doctor.

Only 21 percent of respondents said all or most doctors and dentists regularly prescribe painkillers more than is necessary. Of those who think even a few doctors and dentists overprescribe painkillers, 89 percent believe this practice contributes to drug dependence and overdoses.

“There is mounting evidence that drug abuse is having a serious impact on communities across the U.S. We found that Americans want to see improvements to treatments for users but also punishment for drug dealers,” Trevor Tompson, Director of the Associated Press-NORC Center, said in a news release. “This survey provides policymakers with specific information about how the American people understand the problem and the solutions they support.”

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