Study Says Nearly One-Third Of U.S. Adults Know A Drug Overdose Victim

A recent survey that took into consideration more than 2,300 U.S. adults found that nearly 82.7 million people or 32 per cent of the U.S. adult population have lost someone they know of drug overdose. According to CDC, over one million Americans have died due to drug overdose since the late 1990s. Read on to know more about the study.
Nearly One-Third Of U.S. Adults Know A Drug Overdose Victim

Nearly One-Third Of U.S. Adults Know A Drug Overdose Victim

A recent study published in the JAMA Health Forum and led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that nearly 82.7 million people or 32 per cent of the U.S. adult population have lost someone they know of drug overdose. Almost 18.9 per cent or 48.9 million adults who lost someone of overdose said the victim was a family member or close friend.
The survey took into consideration more than 2,300 adults. The study also says that the rates of loss due to drug overdose did not differ significantly by political party affiliation, however, those who lost someone were more likely to see addiction as an extremely or very important policy issue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million Americans have died due to drug overdose since the late 1990s. This also includes more than 100,000 per year in the last few years. CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics also says that last year, the number of overdose deaths reduced slightly for the first time in five years, which was a three per cent reduction from 2022. The survey also revealed that the majority of the deaths have been due to opioid use.
Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, who led the analysis said, “The drug overdose crisis is a national tragedy. Although large numbers of U.S. adults are bereaved due to overdose, they may not be as visible as other groups who have lost loved ones to less stigmatized health issues. Movements to build support for policy change to overcome the devastating toll of the overdose crisis should consider the role of this community.”
The study was also led by Catherine Ettman, PhD, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. The survey is part of the CLIMB (COVID-19 and Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-being) study.
The CLIMB study has surveyed a nationally representative sample of adult Americans annually since 2020. For this overdose loss study, questions to participants from March 28 to April 17, 2023 included “Do you personally know anyone who has died from a drug overdose?” A total of 2,326 participants responded to the question. Participants answering “yes” were then asked, “Who do you know that has died from a drug overdose?”
The paper was co-written with colleagues from Boston University School of Public Health, the University of Minnesota, and the de Beaumont Foundation. The study’s senior author is Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, MPH, dean of Boston University School of Public Health.
Ettman said, “This study contributes new evidence that the addiction crisis and the losses that come with it are common across Americans, but the burden is greater among those who are more economically precarious.” She added, “Addressing addiction can be a unifying theme in increasingly divided times.”
The researchers plan to follow up with further studies in future CLIMB survey waves, looking at associations between overdose loss and other social variables such as trust in institutions.
End of Article
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