(CBS) — Seventy-one percent of Americans say the issue of opioid addiction is a very serious problem for the country, and most feel the federal government should be doing more to address it. Majorities across political lines and age and income levels (71 percent) call the issue very serious.

opioid poll Opioid Addiction In U.S.: 7 In 10 Say Its A Very Serious Problem – CBS News Poll

(Credit: CBS News)

Many Americans have been touched by the issue personally. More than four in 10 (45 percent) say they personally know someone who has suffered from opioid addiction, including one in five who say the person is in their immediate family.

The opioid crisis appears to be hitting white, rural America hard. More whites (48 percent) than blacks (34 percent) say they know someone who has suffered from opioid addiction, and rural Americans (52 percent) are also more likely than those living in the cities (38 percent) or the suburbs (45 percent) to know someone who has suffered.

When Americans are asked who they blame most for the opioid addiction problem, people who abuse pain medication top the list (28 percent), followed by pharmaceutical companies who make and sell the pain medication (23 percent), and doctors who prescribe the medication (19 percent). Dealers and gangs who bring drugs into the country (16 percent) rank last on the list of the choices given.

A large majority of Americans — 8 in 10 — say the federal government should be doing more to address opioid addiction. This view extends across partisan lines.


This poll was conducted by telephone May 3-6, 2018 among a random sample of 1,101 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cellphones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cellphone sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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