POLL: 62% of NYers don't finish prescribed opioids

May 2, 2018

The latest Siena College poll on opioids says 24 percent of New Yorkers were prescribed opioids in the last two years.

Don Levy, Research Institute Director at Siena College, says in the third part of their polling series on the epidemic that they wanted to know what happens in the doctor’s office.

"To what extent have people been prescribed opioids, and to what extent have doctors and pharmacists talked to them?"

The poll found 51 percent were told by their doctor or another member of the doctor's staff about the risks associated with opioid use, while 49 percent were not. At the pharmacy, 42 percent were spoken with about risks, 58 percent were not.

Levy says the numbers showed a large majority didn’t even finish their prescriptions, at 62 percent.

"People simply didn’t take them, and there’s a danger to that," Levy says, "and they didn’t dispose of them in many cases, so they’re sitting in people’s houses and there’s a danger to that."

The poll found 40 percent of those surveyed say they did not dispose of extra pills. Levy said what was also shocking was the number of people who know someone who sought treatment for an addiction in New York, nearly 1 in 5.

“That’s another telltale sign of the scope of this epidemic," he says, "the degree to which people are seeking treatment and unfortunately, talking about some of the various barriers to treatment."

The polling shows only 11 percent say it was easy to find treatment, while 26 percent say it was difficult.