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Report

Americans Prefer Drug-Free Pain Management Over Opioids

Discover how Americans feel about the national opioid epidemic, as well as their views of opioids and drug-free treatment.

The numbers are staggering.

More than 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015. And the number of opioid overdose deaths has more than quadrupled since 1999.

Data collected from February through March 2017 as part of the Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans reveal that 78% of Americans prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor.

Americans see multiple causes for the opioid problem. Forty-four percent of Americans see prescription painkillers as a "crisis" or "very serious problem" in their local area, and 55% of those who know about the problem place "a lot" of blame on "the pharmaceutical industry encouraging doctors to use opioids." Fifty-three percent place "a lot" of blame on "doctors overprescribing painkillers to their patients."

Gallup's analysis, in collaboration with Palmer College of Chiropractic, presents findings that suggest that Americans are aware of the dangers associated with opioid misuse and are open to drug-free alternatives for pain management.

78%

prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor.

This finding is based on data collected from February through March 2017 as part of the Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans.

Nearly a third of Americans say prescription pain medication is either "not very safe"

23%

or "not safe at all"

8%

More than

22,000

of the

30,000

deaths related to opioid overdose in 2015 involved prescription opioids, such as:

  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • codeine
  • morphine
  • fentanyl

These data could be a sign of a future where patients and healthcare professionals alike favor drug-free treatment options before relying on opioids.

Americans Prefer Drug-Free Pain Management Over Opioids is a research brief identifying Americans' perceptions of the opioid overdose epidemic and offers insight into America's views of opioids, as well as drug-free treatments for pain, signaling demand for a new healthcare strategy that includes more drug-free treatments for pain management.

Download the Brief

Download this research brief to learn:

  • the level of Americans' awareness of the dangers associated with opioid abuse
  • public perception on the causes behind the opioid problem
  • the type of chronic pain that Americans report most
  • the variety of methods used to treat ongoing neck and back pain
  • public perception of the most effective treatments for neck and back pain

Hear insights from healthcare experts on the opioid epidemic.

This event includes conversation with research professionals and leaders from the health policy community and is presented by Gallup's Jon Clifton, Managing Partner, and Gallup's Cynthia English, Senior Research Consultant. Hear from keynote speaker Aaron E. Carroll, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University School of Medicine. Panel members include representatives from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and Palmer College of Chiropractic.