Poll Reveals Over 60% of Mid-Hudson Residents Have Been Affected by Opioid Use
Almost 80% of Mid-Hudson Residents Believe Opioids to Be a Serious Problem in Their RegionAugust 29th, 2018 - In conjunction with the Siena College Research Institute, the HealthlinkNY Community Network recently released the results from a poll on the effects of the opioid crisis in the Mid-Hudson region and how the community is responding. The findings painted a grim picture with over half of the respondents indicating that they have been affected in some way by the opioid crisis and very few knowing someone who actually sought out treatment for substance use. Today, the opioid crisis in America is no longer being ignored. In fact, 82% of Mid-Hudson respondents of the Siena poll agreed that the U.S. is currently in the middle of an opioid epidemic. 77% of those respondents then went to say that opioid use was a serious problem in the Mid-Hudson region with 61% going on to say that they personally had been affected at some level by the epidemic. To those who had been affected, 19% reported that they themselves or a close family member had used opioids; 33% reported opioid use by a friend or family member, and 35% reported that someone they know has shared with them that a family member was using opioids. “With 61% of the Mid-Hudson population dealing with the opioid crisis at some level, the need for solutions is now,” said Staci Romeo, Executive Director of HealthlinkNY. “With such a high percentage of our population being affected by this epidemic, we want to raise awareness that you’ll never be alone in this fight. The support will always be there.” The survey also revealed that almost 40% of respondents personally knew someone who died of an opioid-related overdose. According to a New York State Department of Health statistic, between 2013-2015 alone, opioid overdoses resulted in 766 deaths for the Mid-Hudson region*. In response to the growing number of opioid overdoses, medications such as Naloxone have been introduced to the public. Medications like Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose and be life-saving. Naloxone has become such an effective tool in helping overdoses that in 2017, all 50 states had some form of law allowing for expanded access to Naloxone compared to only 4 states just 10 years ago.** In fact, almost 90% of respondents to the Siena poll indicated that all law enforcement and medical professionals should have free and readily available access to Naloxone in an effort to quickly and effectively reverse overdoses and prevent fatalities. In an effort to combat overdoses, according to the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) website, Naloxone is now available in over 2,000 pharmacies across NYS***. Individuals at risk of overdosing, their family members, or friends can have access to Naloxone without the need of a prescription. Despite the efforts in ending the opioid crisis and raising awareness, only 21% of the poll’s respondents knew someone who had sought out treatment for substance use. With a higher percentage of respondents knowing someone using opioids compared to those who knew someone seeking treatment, there are barriers that still exist. Some of these include insurance refusing to cover costs of treatment to poor follow-up programs after receiving treatment. Looking to tear down these barriers and let those know that help is out there, the HealthlinkNY Community Network offers pieces of training such as Narcan as well as Screening, Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) as a means for early intervention and treatment for people with substance use disorders. There is also a host of other resources at the state level to support people in need of substance use disorder services****. The Siena College Research Institute study was funded in part by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). The survey instrument was developed in partnership with the Prescription for Progress: United against opioid addiction, a coalition of Capital Region leaders in healthcare, media, law enforcement, government, education, and business.