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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Poll Shows Most Ohioans Believe Addiction is a Disease

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge (RTDISOHO/PIXABAY)
  • (rtdisoho/Pixabay)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Solving a problem takes understanding, and a new poll reveals insight on public opinion that could be beneficial in combating Ohio's opioid epidemic.

Addiction is described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a chronic disease, and 6-in-10 adults in the latest Ohio Health Issues Poll said they believe that description.

Hailey Akah, a health policy analyst with the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, said that's an encouraging finding that will help to reduce the stigma of addiction often preventing folks from getting help.

"It's also an important step for embracing some of the evidence-based strategies that we know work to treat and recover from addiction," Akah said. "So, these could be things like medication-assisted treatment. Another example might be longer-term programs like recovery housing."



The poll found that 74 percent of Democrats believe addiction is a disease, compared to 53 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Independents. And of all respondents who believe addiction is a disease, a majority said they think it is both physical and psychological.

Akah works on the Health Policy Institute of Ohio's Addiction Evidence Project, which is studying addiction policies, and identifying areas where the state can better align with evidence-based standards and practices. She said over the past five years, they've seen patterns of addiction evolve.

"First it was addiction to prescription pain medication, then to heroin," she said. "Now we've seen a great increase in fentanyl and carfentanyl surges, and methamphetamine and other substances as well. So this is a problem that touches a variety of substances."

An addiction policy scorecard released by the project this year found that in 2016, more than 4,000 Ohioans died due to unintentional drug overdoses, and it expects to see the number to rise.

More data is available at InteractForHealth.org.

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