The Opioid Epidemic

The Facts:

  • According to the CDC, opioid overdoses kill 91 Americans every single day, and more than half of those deaths involve prescription opioids.
  • Statistics from the Surgeon General of the United States indicate that as many as 2 million Americans are currently addicted to or otherwise dependent upon prescription opioids.
  • In 2014, as many as 10 million people reported using opioids for non-medical reasons.
  • The economic toll of the epidemic is costing the U.S. economy an estimated $78.5 billion annually.
  • State and local governments alone spend nearly $8 billion a year on criminal justice costs related to opioid abuse.
  • Although, the amount of pain reported by Americans has remained steady since 1999, prescriptions for opioid painkillers have nearly quadrupled over the same period.
  • The 4x increase in prescriptions matches the 4x increase in opioid overdose deaths during the same period.
  • A "dramatic increase in supply" has made it easy to obtain prescription opioids without having to resort to the black market.
  • Over 50% of the people who misuse opioids report that they obtained them free from a friend or relative, while another 22% misused drugs that they obtained directly from a doctor.