Post-Kaiser survey of long-term prescription opioid painkiller users

In this poll:

The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally representative survey of long-term prescription opioid painkiller users, defined as those who have taken prescription opioids for at least two months in the previous two years. Click "Detailed view" on any question to view results by gender, region, age and other groups.

Poll Questions

Q: First, for each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about abuse of strong prescription painkillers, sometimes called opioids, such as Percocet, OxyContin or Vicodin?

Q: First, for each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about obesity, that is, people being seriously overweight? (Half sample)

Q: For each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about cancer? (Half sample)

Q: For each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about heart disease? (Half sample)

Q: For each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about diabetes? (Half sample)

Q: First, for each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about alcohol abuse?

Q: First, for each health issue I name, please tell me how serious a problem you think it is in this country. How about heroin abuse?

Q: Are you currently taking any of these strong prescription painkillers, or are you no longer taking them?

Q: How long have you been taking/did you take these painkillers?

Q: Which of the following comes closest to the reason you BEGAN taking painkillers? Was it for...?

Q: (Among those not currently taking prescription painkillers) People stop taking these painkillers for a variety of reasons. For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you stopped taking these painkillers? Was it because your prescription ended?

Q: (Among those not currently taking prescription painkillers) People stop taking these painkillers for a variety of reasons. For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you stopped taking these painkillers? Was it because you no longer needed them for pain?

Q: (Among those not currently taking prescription painkillers) People stop taking these painkillers for a variety of reasons. For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you stopped taking these painkillers? Was it because you were worried about becoming addicted to them?

Q: (Among those not currently taking prescription painkillers) People stop taking these painkillers for a variety of reasons. For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you stopped taking these painkillers? Was it because you didn't like the side-effects?

Q: Overall, would you say your quality of life is/was better or worse than if you had not taken these medications, or is/was it about the same?

Q: Do you think your use of strong prescription painkillers has had/had a positive or negative impact on your finances, or has it had no impact at all?

Q: Do you think your use of strong prescription painkillers has had/had a positive or negative impact on your personal relationships, or has it had no impact at all?

Q: Do you think your use of strong prescription painkillers has had/had a positive or negative impact on your ability to do your job, or has it had no impact at all?

Q: Do you think your use of strong prescription painkillers has had/had a positive or negative impact on your physical health, or has it had no impact at all?

Q: Do you think your use of strong prescription painkillers has had/had a positive or negative impact on your mental health, or has it had no impact at all?

Q: Overall, how well would you say these prescription painkillers reduced your pain? Very well, somewhat well, not too well, not well at all?

Q: For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you take/took these painkillers: To relieve physical pain?

Q: For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you take/took these painkillers: To deal with day to day stress?

Q: For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you take/took these painkillers: For fun or to get high?

Q: For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason you take/took these painkillers: To relax or relieve tension?

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from doctor/medical professional) Has/Did your doctor prescribed/prescribe or told/tell you to increase or decrease the dose since/after you started taking these painkillers, or has/did the dose stayed/stay the same?

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from doctor/medical professional) Has/Did your doctor prescribed/prescribe or told/tell you to increase or decrease the dose since/after you started taking these painkillers, or has/did the dose stayed/stay the same?

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about the possibility of addiction or dependence, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about a plan for getting off of the medication, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about other ways to manage your pain besides these painkillers, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about avoiding alcohol or certain medications while taking these painkillers, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about possible side-effects associated with these painkillers, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) When your doctor first prescribed these medications, did your doctor talk to you about keeping your medications in a safe place so they're not misused by others, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who initially got painkiller prescription from a doctor/medical professional) Do you think your doctor provided enough information on the risk of addiction and other side effects associated with prescription painkillers, or do you think your doctor did not provide enough information?

No opinion

Q: Since you began taking these painkillers most recently, have/did you ever had/have trouble getting a doctor to refill your prescription, or not?

Q: Since you began taking these painkillers most recently, have/did you ever had/have trouble getting a pharmacy to refill your prescription, or not?

Q: Since you began taking these painkillers most recently, have/did you ever had/have trouble getting insurance to pay for your painkillers, or not?

Q: Since you began taking these painkillers most recently, have/did you ever had/have trouble being able to afford your painkillers, or not?

Q: Since you have been taking these painkillers have you ever taken/While you were taking these painkillers did you ever take, painkillers that were not prescribed specifically for you by your own doctor, such as medications obtained from a friend or family member, or some other way?

No opinion

Q: In general would you say your health is excellent, very good, good, only fair, or poor?

Q: And would you say your mental health is excellent, very good, good, only fair, or poor?

Q: Does any disability, handicap, or chronic disease keep you from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities?

Q: Are you, yourself, now covered by any form of health insurance or health plan or do you not have health insurance at this time? (READ IF NECESSARY: A health plan would include any private insurance plan through your employer or a plan that you purchased yourself, as well as a government program like Medicare or Medicaid?)

No opinion

Q: How many different prescription drugs do you take?

Q: While taking prescription painkillers, are/were you taking any other prescription medications for anxiety or depression, or sleep problems, or not?

No opinion

Q: Do you have a prescription for Narcan or Naloxone in your home, a drug that can prevent people from dying if they are experiencing an overdose of a prescription painkiller, or not?

No opinion

Q: Have you tried to manage your pain with any other pain medications, such as Aleve, Tylenol, or ibuprofen or Motrin, or not?

No opinion

Q: Have you tried to manage your pain with other types of treatments such as physical therapy, acupuncture, or meditation, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who tried to manage pain with either non-narcotic medications or other treatments) How effective, if at all, were the other ways you tried to manage your pain? Were they very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective or not at all effective?

Q: Have you wanted to try other treatments, therapy or surgeries reducing your pain, but found that you could not afford the cost?

No opinion

Q: How concerned, if at all, are/were you about side-effects from the prescription painkillers? Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned or not at all concerned?

Q: Have you ever experienced any of the following side effects as a result of taking prescription painkillers? Constipation

No opinion

Q: Have you ever experienced any of the following side effects as a result of taking prescription painkillers? Breathing problems

No opinion

Q: Have you ever experienced any of the following side effects as a result of taking prescription painkillers? Indigestion, dry mouth, or nausea

No opinion

Q: (Among those who have experienced specified side effects) Have you taken medication to treat any side effects caused by the prescription painkillers you are/were taking, or not?

No opinion

Q: Which comes closer to your view on using prescription painkillers for more than a week to treat pain:

No opinion

Q: How easy or difficult do you think it is for people to get access to prescription painkillers that were NOT prescribed to them? Very easy, somewhat easy, somewhat difficult, or very difficult?

Q: How easy or difficult do you think it is for people who need prescription painkillers for medical purposes to get access to them? Very easy, somewhat easy, somewhat difficult, or very difficult?

Q: Next I'd like to ask you about your use of alcohol and other drugs, and I just want to remind you that your answers are completely anonymous. Do you drink alcohol, or not?

No opinion

Q: (Among those who drink alcohol) About how many drinks in an average week?

Q: (Among those who drink alcohol) While taking prescription painkillers, did you ever drink alcohol, or not?

No opinion

Q: Has a friend or family member ever suggested you stop taking these painkillers, or not?

No opinion

Q: Do you think you are/were physically dependent on these painkillers, that is, you would find them very hard to quit, or not?

No opinion

Q: Do you think you are/were addicted to these painkillers, or not?

No opinion

Q: Combination: Do you think you are/were physically dependent on these painkillers, that is, you would find them very hard to quit, or not? AND Do you think you are/were addicted to these painkillers, or not?

Q: How concerned, if at all, are/were you about becoming addicted to these painkillers? Very, somewhat, not too, not at all?

Q: (Among those addicted) Did you seek help or treatment for addiction, or not?

No opinion

Q: Did you ever give any of your painkillers to a family member or friend, or not?

No opinion

Q: Some people have reported that they believe other people have used or taken some of their prescription painkillers. Have you ever known or suspected that someone else was using, taking, or selling your strong prescription painkillers, or have you not thought this?

No opinion

Q: How closely have you been following news about the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic in the U.S.? Did you follow this story very closely, fairly closely, not too closely, or not at all closely?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame the government a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame doctors who prescribe painkillers a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame law enforcement a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame people who use painkillers a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame drug companies a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame pharmacies and pharmacists a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: How much, if any, do you blame each of the following for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic? Do you blame hospitals a lot, some, not too much, or not at all?

Q: Would public education and awareness programs be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would increasing access to addiction treatment programs be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would monitoring doctors' prescription painkiller prescribing habits be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would increasing pain management training for medical students and doctors be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would encouraging people who were prescribed painkillers to dispose of any extras once they no longer medically need them, be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would putting warning labels on prescription drug bottles that explain the risk of addiction be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would increasing research about pain and pain management be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would reducing the social stigma around addiction be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: Would government limits on the amount of drugs that can be produced be very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective in reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers? (Half sample)

Q: How concerned are you that efforts to decrease the number of people abusing prescription painkillers will make it MORE difficult for you to get prescription painkillers (if you needed them again)? Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned or not at all concerned?

Q: Do you think prescription painkiller abuse makes a person more likely or less likely to use heroin or other illegal drugs, or do you think it doesn't make much of a difference?

Q: Which do you think is more addictive, prescription painkillers or heroin, or do you think they are about equally addictive?