Opioid abusers — Lock them up, or get them help?
The latest poll finds most Garden State resident favor treatment over penalties.
“A majority of adults in New Jersey, or 53 percent, say that opioid addicts suffer from a treatable disease, as opposed to just a third who say that they lack self control," said Krista Jenkins, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll.
However, the poll finds these same individuals “are also far more likely to blame a person’s individual choices for abusing prescription painkillers than to blame a person’s genetic predisposition — 65 to 19 percent.
When asked if employers who found out a worker’s addiction to painkillers should be fired or helped, Jenkins said “we find that 84 percent, by a sizable margin, favor treatment over lost employment. And the same attitudes relate to those with alcohol addiction — 85 percent support treatment over losing someone’s job.”
Jenkins noted when people were asked how society should treat those addicted to prescription painkillers, “81 percent favor treatment over prison, and 76 percent say treatment is preferable to prison for illegal drug abusers.”
She said the survey also finds there is not much of a Not In My Backyard effect when it comes to treatment centers.
“Only 1 in 5 say they would be opposed to a treatment center for those addicted to prescription painkiller additions if it was being built in their community, with 72 percent who would favor its placement.”
She added, “We found if you live in New Jersey there’s about a 50-50 chance you know someone personally who has suffered from a prescription painkiller addiction.”
The poll also finds 69 percent Garden State residents says genetics explain depression, as compared to 16 percent who believe individual choice and behavior are the cause of mental issues.
Meanwhile, 59 percent of respondents say genetic causes are behind those with Type 2 diabetes, while 28 percent said the choices made by a patient are more to blame.
The survey finds 43 percent of New Jerseyans think genetics explain an addiction to drinking alcohol, with 46 percent who say choices made by an individual are the reasons behind the addiction.
The poll was conducted by landline and cell phone, between October 11th and October 15th, using a sample of 875 registered voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of + or – 3.7 percent.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com