Joint Rutgers-Eagleton/FDU Poll: One in Four Households Have a Member Who Has Taken Prescription Pain Relievers In Past Year, Virtually All Residents Believe Opioid Usage Is a Problem In New Jersey



Joint Rutgers-Eagleton/FDU Poll: One in Four Households Have a Member Who

Has Taken Prescription Pain Relievers In Past Year, Virtually All Residents

Believe Opioid Usage Is a Problem In New Jersey


New Brunswick and Madison, New Jersey (July 17, 2019) – Nearly a quarter of New Jerseyans (23 percent) say they or a family member have taken a prescription opioid painkiller in the past 12 months, according to a joint Rutgers-Eagleton/Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in collaboration with the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy.


Four percent of survey respondents – which represents more than 350,000 New Jerseyans – admit they or a family member misused prescription pain relievers during the past year, either by using them more frequently than prescribed (3 percent) or by using a pain reliever not prescribed to them by a healthcare provider (2 percent). One percent report both types of misuse.


Virtually all New Jerseyans believe use of prescribed and illegal opioid drugs is a “very” (67 percent) or “somewhat” (28 percent) serious problem in New Jersey. These numbers have changed little since Rutgers-Eagleton last polled about the severity of the epidemic in June 2018. Two percent say they or a family member have sought care for any kind of drug addiction in the past 12 months.


“Addressing opioid misuse and addiction is a defining public health challenge of our time,” said Joel C. Cantor, distinguished professor and director of the Rutgers University Center for State Health Policy. “The large number of adults using more opioids than prescribed, or using drugs not prescribed for them, raises serious challenges for doctors and other prescribers to assure proper use of these powerful medicines.”


A large majority also believes the use of opioid drugs is a serious problem in their own community. Three-quarters say opioid addiction is a serious problem in their community (34 percent “very,” 40 percent “somewhat”). Twenty percent say the problem is “not very serious” in their community, and 6 percent do not see it as a problem at all.


In this poll, 1,250 adults were contacted between March 7 and 22, 2019. Of those, 621 of were contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones, and 629 were reached through an online probability-based panel. The combined sample has a margin of error of +/-3.6 percentage points; the phone sample has a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points, and the online probability-base sample has a margin of error of +/-5.5 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish. The full analysis, along with the poll’s questions and tables, can be found on the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll website and the FDU Poll website.


Click HERE for the full release and tables.




Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino



Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.



Home of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, ECPIP was established in 1971 and is the oldest and one of the most respected university-based state survey research centers in the United States. Now in its 48th year and with the publication of over 200 polls, ECPIP’s mission is to provide scientifically sound, non-partisan information about public opinion. To read more about ECPIP and view all of our press releases and published research, please visit our website: You can also visit our extensive data archiveFacebook, and Twitter.



The Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling is a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The Eagleton Institute explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute focuses attention on how the American political system works, how it changes, and how it might work better. To learn more about Eagleton programs and expertise, visit



Rutgers Center for State Health Policy informs, supports, and stimulates sound and creative state health policy in New Jersey and around the nation. The Center provides impartial policy analysis, research, training, facilitation, and consultation on important state health policy issues. Established in 1999, the Center combines Rutgers University’s traditional academic strengths in public health, health services research, and social science with applied research and policy analysis initiatives. The Center’s contribution to this poll was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant #74195), the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation. For more information about the Center, visit Follow the Center on Twitter at



The largest private university in New Jersey, FDU is a not-for-profit, nonsectarian, multi-campus institution. Founded in 1942, FDU achieved four-year status in 1948 and approval as a university in 1956.

The University offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including doctoral programs in pharmacy, nursing practice, clinical psychology and school psychology; and an AACSB-accredited business school. Degree programs are offered on two New Jersey campuses and at two FDU locations outside the U.S.: Wroxton College, in Oxfordshire in England, and the Vancouver Campus, in British Columbia, Canada. FDU’s 11,500 full- and part-time students pursue quality career-oriented programs on schedules tailored to their needs – days, evenings and weekends. The curriculum reflects a mission of global education and a foundation of a world-renowned University Core.



For the second year, the FDU Poll received an “A” rating from statistician Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. The ratings measure both accuracy and bias for all major polling services in the United States, providing an update to similar research the poll watchers conducted in 2014. FDU’s “A” rating puts it in the top 15 of the more than 380 polling institutes reviewed and graded from A+ through F. The FDU poll was found to have a 94 percent accuracy rate for predicting election results, and is one of only three A-rated polling institutes with zero bias to their rankings. Please visit our website:

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