Half of Americans believe that opioid overdoses are a big problem in the United States

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
July 27, 2021, 4:30 PM UTC

The United States has documented a record number of deaths from drug overdoses in the last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 93,000 people have died from drug overdoses last year, with more tallies to come. The increase is largely attributed to the spread of the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

Data from the YouGov Daily indicates that half of Americans (49%) believe that opioid overdoses are a “big problem” in the United States today. Older Americans are especially likely to consider drug abuse to be a significant issue. Two-thirds of Americans over 65 (67%) think opioid overdoses are a big problem, compared to half of 45-to 64-year-olds (52%) and two in five adults aged 30 to 44. Adults aged 34 to 44 make up the highest number of opioid deaths recorded in the last year. 

Adults under 30 are the least likely to call the overdoses a significant problem. One-third of the youngest Americans (37%) say it is a big problem, while one-quarter (26%) call it a moderate problem. About one in five (19%) consider it a small problem (14%) or not a problem (5%).

For many Americans, the problem is something that happens elsewhere — not in their own communities. Only around one in five Americans (22%) say opioid overdoses are a big problem in their own community.  

As drug overdoses rise, state and national campaigns have emerged to educate the public about Naloxone, a nasal spray which can treat narcotic overdoses. Some states require a prescription for the spray, but many have distributed it with the hope that bystanders will be able to offer medical care for someone in need. 

One in 11 adults (9%) say that they carry Naloxone. Adults aged 30 to 44 (16%) and those under 30 (12%) are especially likely to have the spray. Americans living in cities (14%) or towns (11%) are also slightly more likely than the average adult to carry the treatment. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this YouGov Daily Poll 

Methodology: 1,000 U.S. Citizens, aged 18 and over, were surveyed for this poll on July 9 - 12, 2021. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in Internet panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2016 American Community Study. The sample was weighted based on gender, age, race, education, news interest, and 2016 Presidential vote (or non-vote). The margin of error for the entire sample is 3.5% 

Image: Getty