Survey: Ohio, Kentucky adults continue to cite heroin use as causing problems for friends, family

The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) and Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) asked adults if they knew a friend or family member experiencing problems due to heroin, methamphetamine or misuse of prescription drugs.

More than 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) report knowing someone who has trouble as a result of using heroin, while just under 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (16%) report knowing someone affected by heroin use. These results are stable from the last time polls were taken in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s clear that many people from every part of the region have a friend or family member who is affected by the opioid epidemic,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “This data affirms Interact for Health’s commitment to building community-wide solutions to end the opioid epidemic.”

Painkiller Prescriptions Decline in Kentucky

In 2017, 3 in 10 Kentucky adults (34%) report they personally have been prescribed a painkiller at some point in the past five years. This is a sharp decline from 2011, when more than half of Kentucky adults (55%) reported that they had been prescribed a pain reliever in the previous five years.

Answers to this question varied by region, with higher numbers reporting in Northern Kentucky (40%) and the Louisville area (41%).

Three in 10 Ohio adults (27%) and over 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (24%) report that they have a friend or family member who has experienced problems as a result of prescription pain relievers.

This percentage has remained stable in recent years.

“We are encouraged to see the use of pain medicine and prescription drug abuse stabilize or decline,” said Owens. “We know stopping the misuse of these drugs is an important piece to reducing harm and ultimately preventing opioid addiction.”

Methamphetamine use tracked for first time in Ohio; Steady in Kentucky

Because health officials have reported an increase in use of methamphetamine, OHIP for the first time asked adults about methamphetamine use.

More than 1 in 10 Ohio adults (13%) know someone who has experienced problems as a result of using methamphetamine. This compares to 2014 when 14% of Ohio adults reported knowing about someone with problems due to heroin use, a potential indicator of future issues.

“These questions help us track the full impact of drug misuse to help our region better evaluate key factors such as capacity for treatment,” said Owens. “It will be important to monitor the prevalence of methamphetamine use into the future.”

In Kentucky, knowledge about methamphetamine use was assessed in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Recent data show that fewer than 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (16%) report knowing someone who has experienced problems as a result of using methamphetamine. This is unchanged from prior reports.

About the Kentucky Health Issues Poll

The 2017 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) is funded by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. KHIP was conducted Oct. 24-Dec. 2, 2017, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.

A random sample of 1,692 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone. This included 861 landline interviews and 831 cell phone interviews with cell phone users. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 2.4%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias.

For more information about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, please visit www.interactforhealth.org/kentucky-health-issues-poll or www.healthy-ky.org.

About the Ohio Health Issues Poll

The 2017 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is funded by Interact for Health. OHIP was conducted June 18 to July 30, 2017, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.

A random sample of 836 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone.

This included 430 landline telephone interviews and 406 cell phone interviews. In 95 of 100 cases, statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 3.4%.

There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects that can introduce error or bias.

For more information about the Ohio Health Issues Poll, please visit www.interactforhealth.org/ohio-health-issues-poll.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement.

Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

More information is available on our website, www.interactforhealth.org.