Prescription-painkiller abuse, an issue that has become prominent on the presidential campaign trail, is also a personal issue to more than half of Americans, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
Nine percent say a family member or close friend has died of an overdose, and 27 percent say either they or someone close to them has been addicted to painkillers. In all, 56 percent of those surveyed had a personal connection to the issue, and whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to have a personal connection, Kaiser’s November tracking poll found.
The poll, released Tuesday morning, is timely. On Monday, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton toured a substance-abuse clinic in Reno, Nevada. She has released a plan to tackle substance abuse that costs $10 billion over 10 years. Although not every candidate has released extensive policy proposals on the topic, it has made its way into many others’ policy agenda.
But the issue is very personal for some of the candidates. Jeb Bush went into detail about his daughter Noelle’s battle with drug addiction in an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this month; around the same time, Ted Cruz spoke to CNN about his half-sister’s struggle with addiction. Last month, Chris Christie gave an emotional talk during a New Hampshire town hall meeting, recounting his mother’s smoking addiction and a friend’s prescription-painkiller addiction. And during an October Republican debate, Carly Fiorina brought up her own family’s encounter with addiction.