Report: Sioux Falls community survey on addiction

A new community survey shows that three out of four respondents in the Sioux Falls area have a family member or friend impacted by drug or alcohol addiction.

The survey was conducted by Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls to examine attitudes and awareness around addiction. The online survey included respondents from the four-county Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The survey is a follow up to one first conducted in the community in 2011. Overall, results show that addiction remains a top concern but that there have been positive changes in the community around stigma and awareness of addiction support resources.

The 2015 survey shows that a vast majority see addiction as a significant community issue. Among those surveyed:

  • 93% agreed that alcohol abuse or addiction is very common in the community.
  • 85% agreed that illicit drug abuse or addiction is very common.
  • 88% agreed that prescription drug abuse or addiction is very common.
  • About 13% said they have a co-worker affected by addiction.
  • 94% said they were concerned about addiction as a community issue.

The survey also found that the community has made strides in developing resources and increasing awareness of where to go for help for those affected by addiction. Compared to 2011 there was:

  • A 132% increase in agreement that there is information on addiction in the community for people who need help (37% to 86%).
  • A 21% increase in agreement that respondents would know where to go for help if they had a family member or friend suffering from addiction (66% to 80%).
  • A 207% increase in awareness of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls as a resource for information (27% to 83%).

“The data tell an important story about our community’s understanding of addiction as our top health and social problem. It’s hard to find a family that hasn’t been touched by this disease in some way,” said Julie Schoolmeester, Executive Director of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls. “We’ve made good progress but there’s more work to do to eliminate stigma and other barriers so more will seek help.”

Survey results show that stigma has been reduced and there is a greater understanding in the community that addiction is an illness and not a moral failing. Compared to 2011 there was:

  • A 65% increase in agreement that respondents would hire someone who was in recovery (54% to 89%).
  • A 24% decrease in agreement that people can get better on their own if they wanted to (21% to 16%).

However, the survey also shows that barriers like stigma, shame and fear still exist for those suffering from addiction in the Sioux Falls area:

  • More than half (58%) said that if they were receiving assistance for alcohol or drug addiction they would keep it a secret.
  • About 1 in 7 (14%) agree that addiction to alcohol and drugs is a personal weakness. However, this declined from 21% in 2011.
  • Fifty percent said they would feel uncomfortable having a transitional living or sober house in their neighborhood for people who have completed alcohol or drug treatment.

The mission of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls is to get alcohol and drug addiction sufferers well. The organization provides free, non-clinical, peer-to-peer addiction management services, including long-term recovery coaching, to help people get well and stay well from addiction.

The organization also engages employers, health care, treatment and others to build a community architecture that removes barriers to addiction care and supports long-term addiction wellness.

See the full report here.


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