Majority of TN voters see heroin and opioid abuse as pressing issue
Broad support for public health and law enforcement solutions
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 13, 2016) — Opioids continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans, rising 14% from 2013 to 2014. With a growing number of overdose deaths from opioids, which include heroin as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, President Barack Obama’s administration has rolled out several measures to address the epidemic.
In light of this sweeping national issue, leading civic tech solution icitizen conducted a new poll of 513 registered voters statewide in Tennessee to gauge their views on the topic. By more than a two-to-one margin, Tennesseans view heroin and opioid abuse as a problem in their community (70% who view it as a “very/somewhat serious problem” and 30% who view it as “not too serious/not a problem at all”).
“Despite overall agreement that opioids and heroin abuse is a problem in Tennessee, there are differences in opinion about the severity of the issue,” said icitizen Polling Analyst Cynthia Villacis. “Women are more likely (36%) than men (23%) to describe the problem as ‘very serious.’ Voters from households that earn less than $50,000 a year are also more likely to view the issue as ‘very serious’ (36%) than wealthier households that earn more than $50,000 (24%).”
Overall, a majority (53%) supports expanding prevention and treatment programs while also toughening penalties for drug trafficking and abuse. In addition, 30% prefer only prevention and treatment, while 14% only want to toughen penalties. Only four percent of voters said that they would not support either a public health or law enforcement intervention.
“Tennesseans clearly want action to address this problem,” Director of Polling, Dr. Mark Keida said. “They are just split on how to tackle it. There is disagreement along age and ideological lines about whether it is necessary to toughen penalties for those who traffic and abuse these substances. The millennial age group (aged 18-34) are likely to prefer expanding treatment programs only (40%), while Baby Boomers (over 65) are about half as likely to share this view (22%). Similarly, a plurality of liberals (48%) and Democrats (44%) prefer just to expand treatment programs. Few conservatives (16%) or Republicans (20%) agree.”
icitizen conducted a survey of 513 registered Tennessee voters, age 18+. The survey was conducted from 4/1 - 4/4. Data were balanced by age, gender and region to reflect the composition of registered voters in Tennessee. The survey was conducted online among icitizen users and supplemented with an opt-in online sample. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4.3, and higher for subgroups. Results were rounded to the nearest point. For more information on this poll and methodology, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
icitizen is the hub for your civic life. As a nonpartisan app, icitizen is a trusted resource that connects citizens to the information, organizations and elected representatives most relevant to them. Through icitizen, citizens easily promote and stay informed on important issues and vote in polls to create meaningful change. Anonymous poll results and public opinion data are shared with representatives, organizations, companies and other stakeholders to inform policy. Using representative sampling based on U.S. Census targets, icitizen’s polling services help policymakers drive sound, data-driven decisions.