News Releases From the APA, Monday May 22, 2017: Opioids, Anxious Millennials, and Mental Health Coverage

 

Americans Favor Treatment, Not Enforcement, to Address Opioid Crisis; 

Many Americans Believe Access to Illegal Opioids and Painkillers is Easy;
One in Five Millennials Think it’s OK to Share Prescription Medicine
 

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2017 –  Many Americans have been directly touched by the opioid crisis -- more than a quarter of Americans and more than a third of millennials, report knowing someone who has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers. More than two-thirds of Americans, 69 percent, say they “understand how someone accidentally gets addicted to opioids,” according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association.

An estimated 2 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder related to prescription opioid pain medication and more than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015.

The APA poll reflects the view of easy access to opioids and painkillers. More than one-third of all adults (39 percent) and nearly half of millennials (46 percent) say that it would be extremely or somewhat easy for someone in their community to access illegal opioids/painkillers.

People who misuse opioids often get them from a family member or friend who has a prescription. The APA poll found that the vast majority of the U.S. population (87 percent) believes it is bad to take a prescription drug without a prescription. However, the poll shows differing perceptions among different generations.

  • 10 percent of baby boomers say taking a prescription drug without a prescription isn’t that bad
  • 14 percent of Gen X’ers say it isn’t bad
  • 18 percent, nearly 1 in 5, millennials say it’s not that bad to take a prescription drug without a prescription

Most Americans believe people can recover from opioid addiction, but most do not believe the country is moving in the right direction to address the problem. Three out of four Americans (73 percent) believe people can recover from an opioid addiction and the number is even higher, more than 80 percent, among people who know someone who has been addicted. People who do not know someone who has been addicted are less likely to believe that people with an opioid addiction can recover.

Regardless of gender, age or income, only 20 percent of Americans believe that when it comes to addressing the opioid crisis, the country is headed in the right direction. A majority of Americans (58 percent) believe policymakers should prioritize access to treatment over stricter punishment (26 percent). Among Republicans, 51 percent, say treatment should be prioritized, 34 percent say that punishment should be prioritized. Among Democrats, 67 percent favor treatment and 18 percent punishment.

“Our poll findings show that American area aware of the problem of opioid addiction, believe people can recover and want to see an emphasis on making treatment available,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “APA has long been involved in educating psychiatrists about addiction treatment, including medication assisted treatment, and providing opportunities for medical students and residents for learning about addiction psychiatry.” Levin added, “The number of young people, one in five, who believe it’s ok to share prescriptions is troubling.”

These findings are from an American Psychiatric Association-sponsored poll conducted online using ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. The surveys were collected form a nationally representative sample of 1,019 adults during the period April 20-23, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

 

Majority of Americans Say They are Anxious about Health;
Millennials are More Anxious than Baby Boomers

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2017 – Nearly two-thirds of Americans are extremely or somewhat anxious about health and safety for themselves and their families and more than a third are more anxious overall than last year. By generation, millennials are the most anxious, baby boomers are the least. People of color also report higher levels of anxiety. This is according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association.

Respondents were asked to rate their anxiety on five different areas: health, safety, finances, relationships, and politics.

Other findings from the poll:

  • Blacks and Hispanics reported higher levels of anxiety than whites. More than twice as many blacks and Hispanics (38 and 31 percent respectively) reported being extremely anxious about their health compared to whites (15 percent).
  • People on Medicaid reported being more anxious than those with private health care.
  • The level of anxiety among men and women was about the same.
  • More than one-third of respondents said they are more anxious than last year; one in five are less anxious; and two in five are about the same. Millennials are more likely than baby boomers to have more anxiety this year than last (41 percent and 32 percent respectively).
  • More than half of respondents also reported being somewhat or extremely anxious about paying their bills and about the impact of politics on their daily life.

Democrats, Republicans, and Independents reported similar levels of anxiety overall. However, more Democrats (44 percent) than Republicans (29 percent) report their stress has increased in the past year.

Americans are split on whether they are anxious about the impact of politics on their lives (51 percent are anxious, 49 percent are not). However, relatively few, 16 percent, say they are extremely anxious and that number is fairly consistent among all age groups, income levels, and among Caucasians, blacks and Hispanics. Democrats reported heightened levels of anxiety about the impact of politics on daily life—62 percent of Democrats are extremely/somewhat anxious about the impact compared to 44 percent of Republicans.

“Stress and anxiety can take a major toll on a person’s health and mental health. This poll gives us some insight to the level of concern among U.S. adults and what people are concerned about,” said APA President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. “Our poll findings show that health and safety are primary concerns for most Americans and even more so for people of color and for millennials. Having access to quality affordable health and mental health care is important for all Americans.”

These findings are from an American Psychiatric Association-sponsored poll conducted online using ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. The surveys were collected form a nationally representative sample of 1,019 adults during the period April 20-23, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

 

New National Poll Finds Americans Show Strong Support for Mental Health Coverage

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2017 – Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, overwhelmingly feel that insurance should cover mental health. Seventy-seven percent of all Americans said private health insurance offered through an employer or union should cover mental health, including 76 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Republicans. This is according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association.

A majority of Americans (51%), feel that mental health should be covered by all types of insurance, including individually-purchased health insurance, by insurance purchased through the Health Care Exchange or Marketplace, Medicaid and Medicare and other government provided sources (such as veteran’s benefits).  This includes 55% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans. Baby boomers are more likely than millennials to support mental health coverage.

While about half of respondents said that they have somewhat or very adequate mental health insurance coverage, more than a quarter do not know about their mental health coverage, and that number is fairly consistent regardless of age, income, race/ethnicity or party affiliation. Accessing mental health care is challenging for many—less than half of adults say they know how to access mental health care if they need it. Women are more likely (50 percent) than men (37percent) to say they know how to access mental health care.

“This poll gives us some insight to American understanding of the importance of mental health and the strong bi-partisan support for mental health coverage,” said APA President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. “However, the number of people who don’t know how to access mental health care and don’t know about their coverage raises concerns.”

While Americans are concerned about their family’s overall health, and four in five adults recognize the connection between mental and physical health, they do not believe policymakers in Washington think mental health is a priority. More than two-thirds (69 percent) think mental health is a low priority or not a priority among Washington policymakers.

“We’ve made progress in recent years with improving and expanding mental health coverage, but the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House will reverse much of that progress,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “The AHCA will remove insurance coverage from millions of Americans and roll back Medicaid expansion that occurred under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), potentially reducing access to care for the 1.3 million Americans with serious mental illness and the 2.8 million Americans with substance use disorders.”

These findings are from an American Psychiatric Association-sponsored poll conducted online using ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. The surveys were collected form a nationally representative sample of 1,019 adults during the period April 20-23, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

 

 

 

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