An ‘opioid’ epidemic in America


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, America is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid.

Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids – including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin – nearly quadrupled, and over 165,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription pain medication deaths remain high, and in 2014, the most recent year on record, there was an increase in heroin-involved deaths and an increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Economic Impact of the Opioid Epidemic:

55 billion in health and social costs related to prescription opioid abuse each year1

20 billion in emergency department and inpatient care for opioid poisonings

On an average day in the United States:

More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed

3,900 people initiate nonmedical use of prescription opioids

580 people initiate heroin use people die from an opioid-related overdose