september 6–9, 2018

Morning Consult:
Who We Are – What We Do

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

“Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time,” noted Tyler Sinclair, Managing Director of the market research firm Morning Consult. The company has developed advanced methods for understanding what consumers think, say, and see. The company conducts 10,000 interviews per day on a range of topics from politics to brand preferences. Mr. Sinclair reported data from a poll Morning Consult conducted for the Forum focused on the topics under discussions, including tax legislation and the opioid crisis.

Poll: Federal Tax Reform

Over the course of 3 days, Morning Consult collected opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, income, political affiliation, and region. Mr. Sinclair provided a detailed analysis of the data segmented by these factors.

 2017 GOP Tax Bill Support

A plurality (41%) of voters support the 2017 GOP tax bill, while one third (34%) oppose it.

Nationwide, a plurality of voters supports the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax bill; however, voters are split along party lines in their views of the tax bill, with Democrats expressing strong opposition and Republicans expressing strong support. Furthermore, 37% Republicans reported that the tax change increased their paychecks, while 67% of Democrats saw no change. Majorities see the bill having a positive impact on corporations (53%), and pluralities see positive impacts for the US economy (42%) and job creation (41%). Voters tend to say that the tax bill will be more politically beneficial to Republicans who support it than it will be to Democrats who oppose it when it comes to the 2018 election.

Poll: Online Retail State Tax

Most voters were unfamiliar with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Wayfair, and the majority (56%) are under the impression that they are already paying a state sales tax on online purchases. Once voters were made aware of the ruling, those who expressed opinions are divided in their support, though the majority believe that this ruling will help economies in States that require online retailers to collect a state sales tax. Across demographic groups, voters say that when they order an item online, it tends to cost less than purchasing in-store, and nearly half (48%) say the decision will hurt the middle class.

Support for Online Collection of State Sales Taxes

Voters are split over whether states should require online online retailers to collect state sales taxes on purchases.

Discussion

Sen. Robert Stivers (KY): Polls can be interpreted in different ways based on the way questions are asked and the methodology for capturing responses. What does Morning Consult do to avoid bias?

Mr. Sinclair: Polling methodology started to change dramatically after the 2012 election. Up to that time, most US households still had a landline. But technology has progressed, now 90% of Americans, including seniors, are online. Originally, Morning Consult used an online email newsletter to gather survey data. By scaling up the online reach, adding cell phones to our surveys, and adopting advanced analytical methods, Morning Consult developed the ability to sample a representative spectrum of registered voters and analyze their responses rapidly. A pre-stratification analysis defines what specific targets we need to select in order to have a representative sampling of the US population; for example, a certain percentage of white females between the ages of 18-29.

Vans Stevenson (Motion Picture Association of America): There is also an issue about whether people tell the truth or not when they respond to surveys.

Mr. Sinclair: In-person surveys on a landline are more subject to social desirability bias. In addition, men are likely to guess more often than women when they do not actually know about a topic, so this can skew results. One of the advantages of online research is that there is little incentive to lie or pretend.  The respondent isn’t talking to a person so you get less social desirability bias than you would in a landline survey. For example, in landline polls, people with Masters degrees are less likely to admit that they approve of President Trump, while online surveys show his approval with this group 6 points higher than landline results.

Morning Consult:
Interactive Break-out Session

The Opioid Crisis:

Challenges and Solutions for the States

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

Group facilitators: Christopher Doty, Olivia Myszkowski, Caroline Bye
Account Directors, Morning Consult

Led by Managing Director of Client Services, Tyler Sinclair, and his team of group facilitators, Forum participants engaged in a lively, interactive exercise that examined Forum participants’ perceptions of the opioid crisis. Their viewpoints were compared with the opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters obtained in a poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Is the opioid crisis an emergency in your State?

Senate Presidents unanimously stated that the opioid crisis is an emergency in their States. “There is someone in your family, your church, or your workplace who is affected,” they observed. Most Senators believe that the opioid crisis is a long-term emergency requiring immediate short-term interventions to stem the tide, but they anticipate having to manage the long-term consequences of the crisis, such as loss of productivity, family issues, and health disabilities related to opioid abuse.

Poll respondents are slightly more likely to believe that the opioid epidemic is a problem in the country rather than in their state. However, 82% of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in their States, and half said it would be “easy” for someone to access a large amount of prescription opioids without needing them for a medical purpose.

Opioid Crisis

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

Who is responsible for causing the opioid crisis?

A majority of voters see black-market dealers, doctor shopping, and over-prescribing by providers as contributing “a great deal” to the opioid crisis. Senators expressed similar opinions but commented on additional contributing factors.

A Forum participant noted that the US, which has 12% of the world’s population, consumes 80% of the world’s pain medications. Health care is about getting better, not only about pain relief, but the pressure on providers to improve “pain scores” and focus on “patient satisfaction” has contributed to over-prescribing of pain medications.

Participants noted that “People don’t set out to become addicts.” They take a prescription for an acute injury and then end up with an addiction. Forum members and poll respondents agreed that over-prescribing of opioids was a contributor, and advocated for stricter guidelines and limitations on opioid prescribing.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Monitoring of Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies

Forum participants and poll respondents alike held the pharmaceutical companies responsible for over-marketing of opioids and noted that doctors were not aware of the real addiction potential of pain medications.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

Should states be allowed to sue Pharmaceutical Companies?

What is the appropriate response to opioid abuse?

Focus on Treatment

Forum participants and the poll respondents were in agreement that people who used prescription painkiller that were not prescribed for them should not be criminalized, but rather should be placed in a treatment program without jail time.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

What is the appropriate response for a person found in possession of…

Treatment programs are the appropriate response to use of unprescribed opioids according to 59% of poll respondents, while 24% believe jail time is the appropriate response. On the other hand, increased enforcement and harsher penalties for individuals dealing or selling opioids was strongly supported by 53% of poll respondents.

Forum participants recognized that drug addiction is a societal problem and not a new phenomenon, pointing to the prevalent attitude of “sweeping emotional problems under the rug with a pill to help a bad day.” A participant discussed the impact of a lack of self-worth as a driving factor in opioid abuse. People who don’t have jobs and see no future are self-medicating with opioids to manage despair.

Forum participants agreed that there should be 100% access to proven treatment programs that implement best practices and are measured on outcomes. Senators recognized the need for wrap-around services to get people into treatment to address the physical and behavioral health issues underlying opioid addiction. Most Senators were more likely to consider drug courts that led to treatment over harsher penalties.

Education and awareness

Voters and Forum participants alike were in support of State funding for a wide array of programs and initiatives to combat opioid abuse. Public education and awareness was first on the list at 60%, followed by research on pain management alternatives, and increased access to treatment addiction programs. Forum participants proposed public education and training such as through Public Service Announcements and TV advertising, as well as education in schools, churches, and community settings.

Who is responsible to create solutions?

All Senators at the Forum had proposed some legislation related to mental health/drug abuse. But poll respondents said that the State and Federal governments, and President Trump have done less than they would expect when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic.

Forum participants and polled voters disagreed in their perceptions of who has responsibility to create systematized solutions to intervene in the opioid crisis. State Senators opined that everyone has a role to play, but they emphasized that State and local government are most likely to be the first line of intervention.  In contrast, polling respondents hold the federal government more responsible for fighting the opioid crisis more generally and for financing the resources and treatment options. However, voters are split regarding whether states or the federal government should bear the responsibility of educating the public.

Summary

The reports from the interactive break-out sessions showed significant alignment among the Forum participants. They prioritized limiting opioid prescriptions, monitoring provider prescribing habits, providing provider education and holding providers accountable for opioid prescribing.  Additionally, they recognized the need for comprehensive, wrap-around services that are evidence-based and outcomes-oriented. Finally, they proposed the development of drug courts that would lead to outcomes-based treatment with limited punitive consequences for people with opioid addiction.

Speaker Biography

Tyler Sinclair

Kim Tyler Sinclair joined Morning Consult in 2015 and oversees the company's client services division, providing strategic guidance and insights on public opinion, advocacy and communications to over 150 Fortune 500 companies and trade associations. Previously, Tyler spent two years as a Project Director for The Winston Group, where he conceptualized and executed market research projects and provided strategic counsel on client issues. Prior to that, Tyler held legislative roles for Senator Rob Portman and Former House Speaker John Boehner. Tyler earned MA and BA degrees in Political Science from Miami University (OH).

Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time.

Sen. Robert Stivers (KY)

Vans Stevenson

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

Tyler Sinclair

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2018 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

september 6–9, 2018

Morning Consult:
Who We Are – What We Do

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

“Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time,” noted Tyler Sinclair, Managing Director of the market research firm Morning Consult. The company has developed advanced methods for understanding what consumers think, say, and see. The company conducts 10,000 interviews per day on a range of topics from politics to brand preferences. Mr. Sinclair reported data from a poll Morning Consult conducted for the Forum focused on the topics under discussions, including tax legislation and the opioid crisis.

Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time.

Poll: Federal Tax Reform

Over the course of 3 days, Morning Consult collected opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, income, political affiliation, and region. Mr. Sinclair provided a detailed analysis of the data segmented by these factors.

 2017 GOP Tax Bill Support

A plurality (41%) of voters support the 2017 GOP tax bill, while one third (34%) oppose it.

Nationwide, a plurality of voters supports the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax bill; however, voters are split along party lines in their views of the tax bill, with Democrats expressing strong opposition and Republicans expressing strong support. Furthermore, 37% Republicans reported that the tax change increased their paychecks, while 67% of Democrats saw no change. Majorities see the bill having a positive impact on corporations (53%), and pluralities see positive impacts for the US economy (42%) and job creation (41%). Voters tend to say that the tax bill will be more politically beneficial to Republicans who support it than it will be to Democrats who oppose it when it comes to the 2018 election.

Poll: Online Retail State Tax

Most voters were unfamiliar with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Wayfair, and the majority (56%) are under the impression that they are already paying a state sales tax on online purchases. Once voters were made aware of the ruling, those who expressed opinions are divided in their support, though the majority believe that this ruling will help economies in States that require online retailers to collect a state sales tax. Across demographic groups, voters say that when they order an item online, it tends to cost less than purchasing in-store, and nearly half (48%) say the decision will hurt the middle class.

Support for Online Collection of State Sales Taxes

Voters are split over whether states should require online online retailers to collect state sales taxes on purchases.

Discussion

Sen. Robert Stivers (KY): Polls can be interpreted in different ways based on the way questions are asked and the methodology for capturing responses. What does Morning Consult do to avoid bias?

Mr. Sinclair: Polling methodology started to change dramatically after the 2012 election. Up to that time, most US households still had a landline. But technology has progressed, now 90% of Americans, including seniors, are online. Originally, Morning Consult used an online email newsletter to gather survey data. By scaling up the online reach, adding cell phones to our surveys, and adopting advanced analytical methods, Morning Consult developed the ability to sample a representative spectrum of registered voters and analyze their responses rapidly. A pre-stratification analysis defines what specific targets we need to select in order to have a representative sampling of the US population; for example, a certain percentage of white females between the ages of 18-29.

Vans Stevenson (Motion Picture Association of America): There is also an issue about whether people tell the truth or not when they respond to surveys.

Mr. Sinclair: In-person surveys on a landline are more subject to social desirability bias. In addition, men are likely to guess more often than women when they do not actually know about a topic, so this can skew results. One of the advantages of online research is that there is little incentive to lie or pretend.  The respondent isn’t talking to a person so you get less social desirability bias than you would in a landline survey. For example, in landline polls, people with Masters degrees are less likely to admit that they approve of President Trump, while online surveys show his approval with this group 6 points higher than landline results.

Morning Consult:
Interactive Break-out Session

The Opioid Crisis:

Challenges and Solutions for the States

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

Group facilitators: Christopher Doty, Olivia Myszkowski, Caroline Bye
Account Directors, Morning Consult

Led by Managing Director of Client Services, Tyler Sinclair, and his team of group facilitators, Forum participants engaged in a lively, interactive exercise that examined Forum participants’ perceptions of the opioid crisis. Their viewpoints were compared with the opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters obtained in a poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Is the opioid crisis an emergency in your State?

Senate Presidents unanimously stated that the opioid crisis is an emergency in their States. “There is someone in your family, your church, or your workplace who is affected,” they observed. Most Senators believe that the opioid crisis is a long-term emergency requiring immediate short-term interventions to stem the tide, but they anticipate having to manage the long-term consequences of the crisis, such as loss of productivity, family issues, and health disabilities related to opioid abuse.

Poll respondents are slightly more likely to believe that the opioid epidemic is a problem in the country rather than in their state. However, 82% of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in their States, and half said it would be “easy” for someone to access a large amount of prescription opioids without needing them for a medical purpose.

Opioid Crisis

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

Who is responsible for causing the opioid crisis?

A majority of voters see black-market dealers, doctor shopping, and over-prescribing by providers as contributing “a great deal” to the opioid crisis. Senators expressed similar opinions but commented on additional contributing factors.

A Forum participant noted that the US, which has 12% of the world’s population, consumes 80% of the world’s pain medications. Health care is about getting better, not only about pain relief, but the pressure on providers to improve “pain scores” and focus on “patient satisfaction” has contributed to over-prescribing of pain medications.

Participants noted that “People don’t set out to become addicts.” They take a prescription for an acute injury and then end up with an addiction. Forum members and poll respondents agreed that over-prescribing of opioids was a contributor, and advocated for stricter guidelines and limitations on opioid prescribing.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Monitoring of Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies

Forum participants and poll respondents alike held the pharmaceutical companies responsible for over-marketing of opioids and noted that doctors were not aware of the real addiction potential of pain medications.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

Should states be allowed to sue Pharmaceutical Companies?

What is the appropriate response to opioid abuse?

Focus on Treatment

Forum participants and the poll respondents were in agreement that people who used prescription painkiller that were not prescribed for them should not be criminalized, but rather should be placed in a treatment program without jail time.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

What is the appropriate response for a person found in possession of…

Treatment programs are the appropriate response to use of unprescribed opioids according to 59% of poll respondents, while 24% believe jail time is the appropriate response. On the other hand, increased enforcement and harsher penalties for individuals dealing or selling opioids was strongly supported by 53% of poll respondents.

Forum participants recognized that drug addiction is a societal problem and not a new phenomenon, pointing to the prevalent attitude of “sweeping emotional problems under the rug with a pill to help a bad day.” A participant discussed the impact of a lack of self-worth as a driving factor in opioid abuse. People who don’t have jobs and see no future are self-medicating with opioids to manage despair.

Forum participants agreed that there should be 100% access to proven treatment programs that implement best practices and are measured on outcomes. Senators recognized the need for wrap-around services to get people into treatment to address the physical and behavioral health issues underlying opioid addiction. Most Senators were more likely to consider drug courts that led to treatment over harsher penalties.

Education and awareness

Voters and Forum participants alike were in support of State funding for a wide array of programs and initiatives to combat opioid abuse. Public education and awareness was first on the list at 60%, followed by research on pain management alternatives, and increased access to treatment addiction programs. Forum participants proposed public education and training such as through Public Service Announcements and TV advertising, as well as education in schools, churches, and community settings.

Who is responsible to create solutions?

All Senators at the Forum had proposed some legislation related to mental health/drug abuse. But poll respondents said that the State and Federal governments, and President Trump have done less than they would expect when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic.

Forum participants and polled voters disagreed in their perceptions of who has responsibility to create systematized solutions to intervene in the opioid crisis. State Senators opined that everyone has a role to play, but they emphasized that State and local government are most likely to be the first line of intervention.  In contrast, polling respondents hold the federal government more responsible for fighting the opioid crisis more generally and for financing the resources and treatment options. However, voters are split regarding whether states or the federal government should bear the responsibility of educating the public.

Summary

The reports from the interactive break-out sessions showed significant alignment among the Forum participants. They prioritized limiting opioid prescriptions, monitoring provider prescribing habits, providing provider education and holding providers accountable for opioid prescribing.  Additionally, they recognized the need for comprehensive, wrap-around services that are evidence-based and outcomes-oriented. Finally, they proposed the development of drug courts that would lead to outcomes-based treatment with limited punitive consequences for people with opioid addiction.

Speaker Biography

Tyler Sinclair

Kim Tyler Sinclair joined Morning Consult in 2015 and oversees the company's client services division, providing strategic guidance and insights on public opinion, advocacy and communications to over 150 Fortune 500 companies and trade associations. Previously, Tyler spent two years as a Project Director for The Winston Group, where he conceptualized and executed market research projects and provided strategic counsel on client issues. Prior to that, Tyler held legislative roles for Senator Rob Portman and Former House Speaker John Boehner. Tyler earned MA and BA degrees in Political Science from Miami University (OH).

september 6–9, 2018

Morning Consult:
Who We Are – What We Do

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

“Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time,” noted Tyler Sinclair, Managing Director of the market research firm Morning Consult. The company has developed advanced methods for understanding what consumers think, say, and see. The company conducts 10,000 interviews per day on a range of topics from politics to brand preferences. Mr. Sinclair reported data from a poll Morning Consult conducted for the Forum focused on the topics under discussions, including tax legislation and the opioid crisis.

Government executives don’t have a way to collect, organize, or share data on what people think, in real time.

Poll: Federal Tax Reform

Over the course of 3 days, Morning Consult collected opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, income, political affiliation, and region. Mr. Sinclair provided a detailed analysis of the data segmented by these factors.

 2017 GOP Tax Bill Support

A plurality (41%) of voters support the 2017 GOP tax bill, while one third (34%) oppose it.

Nationwide, a plurality of voters supports the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax bill; however, voters are split along party lines in their views of the tax bill, with Democrats expressing strong opposition and Republicans expressing strong support. Furthermore, 37% Republicans reported that the tax change increased their paychecks, while 67% of Democrats saw no change. Majorities see the bill having a positive impact on corporations (53%), and pluralities see positive impacts for the US economy (42%) and job creation (41%). Voters tend to say that the tax bill will be more politically beneficial to Republicans who support it than it will be to Democrats who oppose it when it comes to the 2018 election.

Poll: Online Retail State Tax

Most voters were unfamiliar with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Wayfair, and the majority (56%) are under the impression that they are already paying a state sales tax on online purchases. Once voters were made aware of the ruling, those who expressed opinions are divided in their support, though the majority believe that this ruling will help economies in States that require online retailers to collect a state sales tax. Across demographic groups, voters say that when they order an item online, it tends to cost less than purchasing in-store, and nearly half (48%) say the decision will hurt the middle class.

Support for Online Collection of State Sales Taxes

Voters are split over whether states should require online online retailers to collect state sales taxes on purchases.

Discussion

Sen. Robert Stivers (KY): Polls can be interpreted in different ways based on the way questions are asked and the methodology for capturing responses. What does Morning Consult do to avoid bias?

Mr. Sinclair: Polling methodology started to change dramatically after the 2012 election. Up to that time, most US households still had a landline. But technology has progressed, now 90% of Americans, including seniors, are online. Originally, Morning Consult used an online email newsletter to gather survey data. By scaling up the online reach, adding cell phones to our surveys, and adopting advanced analytical methods, Morning Consult developed the ability to sample a representative spectrum of registered voters and analyze their responses rapidly. A pre-stratification analysis defines what specific targets we need to select in order to have a representative sampling of the US population; for example, a certain percentage of white females between the ages of 18-29.

Vans Stevenson (Motion Picture Association of America): There is also an issue about whether people tell the truth or not when they respond to surveys.

Mr. Sinclair: In-person surveys on a landline are more subject to social desirability bias. In addition, men are likely to guess more often than women when they do not actually know about a topic, so this can skew results. One of the advantages of online research is that there is little incentive to lie or pretend.  The respondent isn’t talking to a person so you get less social desirability bias than you would in a landline survey. For example, in landline polls, people with Masters degrees are less likely to admit that they approve of President Trump, while online surveys show his approval with this group 6 points higher than landline results.

Morning Consult:
Interactive Break-out Session

The Opioid Crisis:

Challenges and Solutions for the States

Tyler Sinclair

Managing Director
Client Services
Morning Consult

Group facilitators: Christopher Doty, Olivia Myszkowski, Caroline Bye
Account Directors, Morning Consult

Led by Managing Director of Client Services, Tyler Sinclair, and his team of group facilitators, Forum participants engaged in a lively, interactive exercise that examined Forum participants’ perceptions of the opioid crisis. Their viewpoints were compared with the opinions from a national sample of 1,965 registered voters obtained in a poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Is the opioid crisis an emergency in your State?

Senate Presidents unanimously stated that the opioid crisis is an emergency in their States. “There is someone in your family, your church, or your workplace who is affected,” they observed. Most Senators believe that the opioid crisis is a long-term emergency requiring immediate short-term interventions to stem the tide, but they anticipate having to manage the long-term consequences of the crisis, such as loss of productivity, family issues, and health disabilities related to opioid abuse.

Poll respondents are slightly more likely to believe that the opioid epidemic is a problem in the country rather than in their state. However, 82% of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in their States, and half said it would be “easy” for someone to access a large amount of prescription opioids without needing them for a medical purpose.

Opioid Crisis

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

Eighty-two percent of registered voters said the opioid crisis was either an emergency or a major problem in the US.

Who is responsible for causing the opioid crisis?

A majority of voters see black-market dealers, doctor shopping, and over-prescribing by providers as contributing “a great deal” to the opioid crisis. Senators expressed similar opinions but commented on additional contributing factors.

A Forum participant noted that the US, which has 12% of the world’s population, consumes 80% of the world’s pain medications. Health care is about getting better, not only about pain relief, but the pressure on providers to improve “pain scores” and focus on “patient satisfaction” has contributed to over-prescribing of pain medications.

Participants noted that “People don’t set out to become addicts.” They take a prescription for an acute injury and then end up with an addiction. Forum members and poll respondents agreed that over-prescribing of opioids was a contributor, and advocated for stricter guidelines and limitations on opioid prescribing.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

There is strong support for the monitoring of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Monitoring of Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies

Forum participants and poll respondents alike held the pharmaceutical companies responsible for over-marketing of opioids and noted that doctors were not aware of the real addiction potential of pain medications.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

A majority of voters support their state filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies should the pharmaceutical company provide misleading information.

Should states be allowed to sue Pharmaceutical Companies?

What is the appropriate response to opioid abuse?

Focus on Treatment

Forum participants and the poll respondents were in agreement that people who used prescription painkiller that were not prescribed for them should not be criminalized, but rather should be placed in a treatment program without jail time.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

Voters tend to side with treatment programs over jail time.

What is the appropriate response for a person found in possession of…

Treatment programs are the appropriate response to use of unprescribed opioids according to 59% of poll respondents, while 24% believe jail time is the appropriate response. On the other hand, increased enforcement and harsher penalties for individuals dealing or selling opioids was strongly supported by 53% of poll respondents.

Forum participants recognized that drug addiction is a societal problem and not a new phenomenon, pointing to the prevalent attitude of “sweeping emotional problems under the rug with a pill to help a bad day.” A participant discussed the impact of a lack of self-worth as a driving factor in opioid abuse. People who don’t have jobs and see no future are self-medicating with opioids to manage despair.

Forum participants agreed that there should be 100% access to proven treatment programs that implement best practices and are measured on outcomes. Senators recognized the need for wrap-around services to get people into treatment to address the physical and behavioral health issues underlying opioid addiction. Most Senators were more likely to consider drug courts that led to treatment over harsher penalties.

Education and awareness

Voters and Forum participants alike were in support of State funding for a wide array of programs and initiatives to combat opioid abuse. Public education and awareness was first on the list at 60%, followed by research on pain management alternatives, and increased access to treatment addiction programs. Forum participants proposed public education and training such as through Public Service Announcements and TV advertising, as well as education in schools, churches, and community settings.

Who is responsible to create solutions?

All Senators at the Forum had proposed some legislation related to mental health/drug abuse. But poll respondents said that the State and Federal governments, and President Trump have done less than they would expect when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic.

Forum participants and polled voters disagreed in their perceptions of who has responsibility to create systematized solutions to intervene in the opioid crisis. State Senators opined that everyone has a role to play, but they emphasized that State and local government are most likely to be the first line of intervention.  In contrast, polling respondents hold the federal government more responsible for fighting the opioid crisis more generally and for financing the resources and treatment options. However, voters are split regarding whether states or the federal government should bear the responsibility of educating the public.

Summary

The reports from the interactive break-out sessions showed significant alignment among the Forum participants. They prioritized limiting opioid prescriptions, monitoring provider prescribing habits, providing provider education and holding providers accountable for opioid prescribing.  Additionally, they recognized the need for comprehensive, wrap-around services that are evidence-based and outcomes-oriented. Finally, they proposed the development of drug courts that would lead to outcomes-based treatment with limited punitive consequences for people with opioid addiction.

Speaker Biography

Tyler Sinclair

Kim Tyler Sinclair joined Morning Consult in 2015 and oversees the company's client services division, providing strategic guidance and insights on public opinion, advocacy and communications to over 150 Fortune 500 companies and trade associations. Previously, Tyler spent two years as a Project Director for The Winston Group, where he conceptualized and executed market research projects and provided strategic counsel on client issues. Prior to that, Tyler held legislative roles for Senator Rob Portman and Former House Speaker John Boehner. Tyler earned MA and BA degrees in Political Science from Miami University (OH).