People protest against gun violence outside of the Cotton wood Creek Baptist Church on May 7, 2023 in Allen, Texas, United States. (PHOTO / AFP)
NEW YORK – Gun violence has surged ahead of the opioid crisis as Americans' top public health concern, according to the latest edition of the Axios-Ipsos American Health Index.
A spate of recent mass shootings may have focused attention on the issue in ways that weren't apparent in the last poll in February, with 26 percent of respondents saying "access to guns or firearms" as the No. 1 threat to American public health, up from 17 percent in February, Axios said in a report of the survey.
A KFF survey found 1 in 5 US adults said they've personally been threatened with a gun, and 1 in 6 have personally witnessed someone being shot
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Meanwhile, 25 percent said the biggest threat is opioids and fentanyl, virtually unchanged since the last poll; 20 percent said obesity, also almost unchanged; COVID-19 slipped to the bottom of public health threats at 3 percent, tied with smoking, alcohol abuse and unsafe driving.
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"Other recent polling has shown an uptick of concern about gun violence, especially in schools," said the report. "A KFF survey found 1 in 5 US adults said they've personally been threatened with a gun, and 1 in 6 have personally witnessed someone being shot."
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"There's been an increased push to portray gun violence as a public health issue, with experts factoring employer costs, insurance claims, mental health counseling and other variables," it added.