Rural Ohio

3 in 10 Ohioans Do Not Believe Addiction is a Disease, Poll Shows

Do you believe addiction is a disease? If you’re an Ohioan who says yes, you’re in the majority.

Six in 10 Ohio residents say addiction is a disease, according to a new Ohio Health Issues Poll. Still, a strong minority does not agree.

Interact for Health, a nonprofit organization that promotes good health in 20 counties around Cincinnati, and sponsored the poll, released the results Thursday morning.

The poll also showed that 3 in 10 people surveyed said addiction isn’t a disease, while 7 percent were uncertain.

The nonprofit asked the same question in a poll for Kentucky residents in April. But in the Bluegrass State, 7 in 10 said they believed addiction is a disease.

Here’s how the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction: “Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.”

Dr. O’dell Owens, president and CEO of Interact for Health, said the poll is indicative of a population that’s learning more about addiction, which has become a key Ohio health issue because of the opioid epidemic.

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“Recognizing that addiction is a disease is a key strategy for partners working to build solutions around the opioid epidemic that continues to impact Ohioans,” Owens said in a statement. “Reducing stigma around addiction starts with acknowledging that it’s a chronic, reoccurring disease that’s influenced by biology, environment and brain development.”

When the Kentucky poll results came out, Dr. Mina “Mike” Kalfas, an addiction specialist from Northern Kentucky, said the understanding that the condition is a disease was crucial to quelling the raging opioid epidemic.

“Every facet of our mission – from using Narcan to medication-assisted treatment to syringe exchange – relies on the general consensus recognizing this as a disease,” Kalfas said in April.

The Ohio Health Issues Poll revealed clear differences among people of different political affiliations.

The poll found that people who identified as Democrats (74 percent) were more likely to believe addiction is a disease than Republicans (53 percent) and independents (57 percent).

In addition, the data show that respondents living in an urban community were more likely to believe addiction is a disease (67 percent) than those living in rural or suburban communities (58 percent), the Interact for Health report notes.

The Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati conducted the poll, from May 22 through June 19. A random sample of 816 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by phone. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Original article here posted on Cincinnati.com.

By: Terri DeMio Published 11:55 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2018

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