More Americans Say Drugs Caused Family Problems

More Americans Say Drugs Caused Family Problems

Significantly more American families say drug abuse is causing family problems than they did back in 2005, says a new Gallup poll.

The latest survey found that 30 percent of families are suffering from the effects of a family member’s problems with drug abuse – significantly more than the 22 percent results in 2005.

The findings are, “a signal that the nation's opioid epidemic, which has worsened in recent years, is taking a toll,” Gallup said in its announcement.undefined

Gallup’s first poll for families with drug abuse problems was taken in 1995. At that time, 19 percent said drugs were causing trouble. It dipped a little in 1997-98, but in 1999-2000 rose to 22 percent of American families saying drug abuse was a source of family problems.

The year 1999 is also commonly cited as the beginning of the prescription opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, the results of which we are still battling.

Gallup’s family drug abuse results rose to 24 percent in 2003-2004 but then dropped back down to 22 percent in 2005. No more polls were taken until this year, so we have no data showing if it was fluctuating or a steady rise since then.

The poll surveyed 1,033 adults nationwide from July 1 to 11, 2018. The company says that their sampling results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Some notable differences

Gallup says there were only a few differences reported in family age, income, education and “urbanicity,” but there were “notable differences by region and gender” as well as results concerning alcohol.

First, more respondents – 37 percent – said drinking caused family troubles compared to those citing drug abuse. This matches Gallup's July 2004 poll and is the historical high for this question first asked of American families back in 1947.undefined

Regionally, more Western families – 38 percent – reported drug problems than the rest of the country. In the Midwest, it was 27 percent, the South 26 percent, and the East 28 percent.

As for gender differences, 33 percent of women were more likely than men, at 26 percent, to say drug abuse caused family troubles.

Smoking vs. Obesity

Gallup also asked about health problems related to smoking and obesity. It may seem surprising that 43 percent of Americans said smoking caused serious health problems in their families – significantly more than the 24 percent who cited obesity.

Gallup says it has asked this question eight times, beginning in 1999, and the results have varied little – ranging between 39 percent and 45 percent – even as the overall rate of smoking in the population has decreased, the report said. Women and nonsmokers were more likely than men and smokers to say their families experienced serious problems as a result of smoking.
Women, younger adults, and those who say they are currently overweight were all more likely to say that obesity negatively affected their families' health.

The bottom line

It’s interesting to note that far more Americans in the survey pointed at smoking and drinking as the sources of family problems than they did at drug abuse and obesity.

We often forget that tobacco and alcohol are far more widely used and abused than drugs, and they cause both more health problems and far more deaths than licit and illicit drugs.

Yet it’s clear that the impact on individuals and families of disorders involving drugs is not abating, and remains a threat to the nation. If you or someone you care for is having trouble with a substance use disorder of any kind, don’t hesitate to call Novus right away at (855) 464-8550 to speak with one of our detox advisers.

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