Prescription DrugsAlmost half of all Utahns know someone addicted to prescription drugs or have had a family member addicted or suffered from an overdose, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

Prescription drug addiction and overdoses have come out of the shadows in recent years, with Utah political leaders trying to find ways to help with what seems to be a growing problem.

And our new Dan Jones & Associates poll finds there is a good reason for public concern – so many Utahns have been or are being touched directly with the addiction problems.

 

Jones finds:

  • 18 percent said they have, or had, a family member addicted to prescription drugs and have had a drug overdose or death.
  • 29 percent said they personally know someone addicted or overdosed or killed by prescription drugs.
  • 50 percent said they don’t know anyone personally so afflicted.
  • And 3 percent didn’t know.

Add the first two categories together and 47 percent of Utahns have personally been touched by drug addictions, overdoses or death.

Across the country, health experts are warning that too many doctors are prescribing too many painkillers and other addictive drugs to patients – resulting in many of those patients becoming addicted to such drugs.

Criminal experts say any number of crimes are being committed by addicted persons seeking money or drugs to feed their habits.

In Utah, where a significant portion of the population does not drink alcohol nor smoke tobacco, prescription drugs can give a kick not otherwise felt in daily lives.

Even with a healthy lifestyle here, however, prescription drug use/addiction is a problem, health officials say.

From 2000 to 2014, health officials say, Utah experienced a 400 percent increase in drug overdose deaths.

Jones’ demographic questions find:

  • 53 percent of Republicans don’t know anyone who is addicted to, overdosed or died from prescription drugs, 27 percent of Republicans know someone with those problems, and 17 percent of Republicans have an afflicted family member.
  • For Democrats: 42 percent don’t know anyone personally troubled by drug addiction, 35 percent do know someone well who has, while 20 percent have had a family member with those problems.
  • Political independents fall out in between: 49 percent don’t know anyone so troubled, 31 percent know someone personally, and 18 percent have had a family member addicted to, overdosed or died from prescription drugs.

Religion is also no defender of the problem, finds Jones:

  • 51 percent of “active” Mormons said they know no one with drug problems.
  • But 30 percent of faithful LDS said they've had a friend with problems.
  • And 17 percent of good Mormons said they have a family member with drug problems.

Those in the poll who said they belong to other religions have similar responses.

Jones polled 614 adults between June 8-17. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.95 percent.