Most people believe the opioid crisis is get worse, not better.
At this point, sadly, the devastating opioid crisis in the United States needs no introduction. These potent drugs are taking a massive toll on wide swaths of the population across the country. And far from just impacting one single demographic, the worsening opioid crisis seems to know no bounds – it has taken a toll on virtually every community in every state in one way or another.
While the damage that has already been done is significant, it seems that most Americans feel it is only getting worse as time passes. A recent survey indicates just that, which shows how the crisis is interpreted by the public and just how much work has to be done to turn the tide in a better direction.
To assess the feelings of the general public on the status of the opioid crisis, Rasmussen Reports performed a volunteer online and over-the-phone survey. The question at the heart of the survey was this: “Is the opioid drug crisis in the United States better or worse as compared to last year?” Of those who participated, 42% said they thought that it is getting worse, 18% thought it has gotten better, and 29% said it has stayed about the same.
To be sure, this kind of survey is not a look at the actual state of the crisis, but rather the public opinion around it. That’s an important detail to highlight, although those two perspectives are not entirely different. The state of public opinion on the worsening opioid crisis is likely to be highly influenced by personal experiences of those surveyed. Do they know someone who has been impacted by opioids recently? If something is happening in their personal life that relates to this situation, it’s more likely that they will think the situation is getting worse rather than better.
One of the challenges that comes with addressing the worsening opioid addiction crisis is the fact that the data surrounding this issue tends to lag behind the present day by at least a year or two. It’s hard to collect and quantify solid data on things like overdose deaths, so the numbers typically trickle in slowly and don’t give a perfectly accurate picture of the current situation. Nevertheless, a snapshot of the past decade or so shows that fatalities have increased significantly.
With that said, looking at the trends in data over the past ten years paint a bleak picture. In 2010, overdose deaths from all opioids were counted at just over 21,000 in the U.S. By 2017, that number had passed 45,000, and by 2021, it was over 80,000. So, for the situation to be markedly better now than it was last year, there would need to have been a surprising and sudden turnaround in these stats.
There doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to the opioid crisis, but that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Plenty of talented, creative people are working on various solutions that are being implemented in a range of locations from coast to coast. Hopefully, these measures will start to make an impact, so the rate of overdose deaths will finally decrease.