Republicans listed fentanyl and opioids as the top public health threat plaguing the U.S. in a new Axios-Ipsos survey, as both parties in Congress seek to spotlight the country’s overdose crisis.
The new poll, published on Thursday, found that 37 percent of Republican respondents list fentanyl and other opioid drugs as the top public health threat, compared to 17 percent of Democrats.
Democrats listed gun or firearm access as the nation’s top public health threat, at 35 percent of respondents. Just 4 percent of Republicans agreed.
Obesity ranked high among voters for both parties, with 25 percent of Republicans listing it as the top public health threat, along with 17 percent of Democrats. Cancer topped the list for 17 percent of Republicans and nine percent of Democrats.
The poll comes as lawmakers from both parties have placed a focus on the fentanyl crisis in the new Congress, although partisan differences have also emerged in the debate over the causes and how the government should respond.
According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, there were 107,477 drug overdoses in the country in a 12-month period ending in August 2022.
That was well above pre-pandemic overdose figures, but a slight decrease from the previous year, which the Biden administration attributed to its efforts to expand addiction treatment and go after drug traffickers.
A number of GOP-led committees and subcommittees have conducted hearings on the fentanyl crisis, as have Democratic-led committees on the Senate side.
President Biden also used his State of the Union address earlier this month to address the ongoing fentanyl crisis, calling on Congress to make fentanyl-related substances permanently Schedule I drugs before the current scheduling expires in December 2024.
The Axios/Ipsos poll was conducted from February 17 to February 21 with a total of 1,213 respondents participating in the survey. The poll’s margin of error was three percentage points.