Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Millennial poll: 42 percent know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction

White men and women, more than any other group, have witnessed the crisis up close, according to the NBC News/GenForward poll.
by Stephanie Perry and Andrew Arenge /
Image: A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin at a local pharmacy in Provo
The prescription painkiller OxyContin, made by Purdue Pharma.George Frey / Reuters file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

More than four in 10 millennials — 42 percent — personally know someone who has dealt with an opioid addiction, according to a new NBC News GenForward millennial poll.

That includes 17 percent who know someone in their immediate family who has been part of the epidemic, and a quarter who know someone outside of their immediate family.

Among white millennials, 54 percent know someone who has dealt with an opioid addiction. Thirty-two percent know someone outside of their immediate family and 22 percent know someone in their immediate family who has struggled.

That is higher than the percentages of African-American millennials (30 percent), Asian-American millennials (26 percent), and Latino millennials (23 percent) who know someone who has dealt with an opioid addiction. Majorities of African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos do not know someone who has been directly affected by the crisis.

The high percentage of white millennials who know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction is driven by women. A majority of white women (57 percent) said they know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction. White men are not far behind, with just over half (51 percent) saying they know someone.

The House will vote on bills aimed at opioid abuse over the next few weeks in an effort to address the crisis. Opioid addiction is one of the few nationwide issues drawing equal concern across party lines, and a sizable percentage of millennials across party lines have been personally affected.

Millennials who identify as Republican or Republican-leaning are the most likely (48 percent) to know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction. Democrats and Democratic-leaners are not far behind, at 42 percent, with independents at 37 percent.

Half of Republican women said they know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction.

There are also differences by region. Millennials living in the Northeast are more likely than those living in other parts of the country to say that they know someone who has dealt with opioid addiction, including 23 percent who know someone in their immediate family who has been affected.

Two-thirds of white millennials living in the Northeast have a direction connection to the opioid epidemic.

The NBC News/GenForward at the University of Chicago Survey was conducted May 17-June 3, 2018, among a nationally representative sample of 1,886 adults ages 18-34, recruited and administered by NORC at the University of Chicago. The overall margin of sampling error is +/- 3.78 percentage points. For full results and methodology, click here.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news