Poll: More than half of New Yorkers personally touched by opioid crisis


Fifty-four percent of New York residents have been personally touched by the opioid epidemic, and nearly a quarter of New Yorkers personally know of someone — a family member, friend of acquaintance — who has died due an to opioid overdose, according to a Siena College poll released on Sunday.

The poll also found that 80 percent of state residents agree that the country is in the middle of an epidemic and 83 percent think the problem of opioid abuse has gotten worse over the past few years. Only 4 percent believe the situation has gotten better.

The vast majority of New Yorkers — 77 percent — think of both the abuse of legal prescription drugs like Oxycontin and illegal opioids like heroin when they hear a discussion about the opioid crisis.

“Touched by opioid abuse doesn’t even do justice to the extent," said Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy. "Sixteen percent of New Yorkers say that they or an immediate family member has abused opioids. One in four have a friend or extended family member that has abused opioids and fourteen percent know someone through work that has or is struggling with opioids. And, a quarter of us has had a friend or coworker share with them that one of their family members has abused opioids."

When asked how serious a public health problem nine different issues pose to New Yorkers, the three seen as most serious were heroin, the growing availability of synthetic opioids and prescription drug abuse. Those concerns finished far ahead of mental illness, obesity, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, e-cigarette use and marijuana.

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