1 in 3 Americans Blame Doctors for National Opioid Epidemic

Americans broadly support new Obama administration guidelines urging physicians to prescribe fewer powerful painkillers, according to the latest STAT-Harvard poll

1 in 3 Americans blame doctors for the nation’s epidemic of opioid addiction about as much as they hold individuals responsible for abusing the drugs.

But most people are also concerned that the prescribing guidelines, issued Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could create hurdles for people who legitimately need strong pain medicine, such as Percocet, OxyContin, or Vicodin.

Seven in 10 Americans support two key elements of the guidelines: advising doctors to give patients no more than a three-day supply of opioid painkillers to treat most cases of acute pain, and trying other treatment options first before prescribing opioids for chronic pain. There was no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans.

For all their support, 55 percent of the adults polled said they were concerned that the new guidelines would make it too hard for people who need prescription pain medications to get them.

The STAT-Harvard poll, conducted by SSRS, interviewed 1,011 randomly selected adults ages 18 and older by telephone from March 3-6, in both English and Spanish. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.