One-third of Americans who say they have taken prescription opioids for at least two months say they’ve developed an addiction to the drugs, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
More than 95 percent of all users said they were initially prescribed opioids by a doctor, but less than a third of all users said they had talked with their doctor about a plan to get off the medication. Opioid addiction and abuse has skyrocketed in the United States, and officials are calling the issue an epidemic.
Patrice A. Harris, chairwoman of the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees and chair of its task force to reduce opioid abuse, told The Washington Post that doctors could do more to work with patients to avoid opioid abuse.
Still, about three-quarters of respondents who initially received their prescription from a doctor said they thought their provider had given enough information about the possible risks of addiction and side effects.
Prescription drug abuse was a major issue for lawmakers and the Obama administration over the past year. Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, authorizing programs to treat and prevent opioid abuse. Funding for the law was included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which is set to be signed into law next week.