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The Opioid Crisis Hasn’t Just Persisted—It’s Getting Worse

In 2020, 191 people died every day in the United States from opioid overdose according to provisional CDC data.1 Additionally, US drug overdoses soared to more than 93,000 deaths–a 30% increase from 2019.1 Much of that increase was driven by opioid-related drug overdose deaths. In fact, opioids accounted for 69,710 deaths in 2020–a 40% increase over the year before.1 Our nation is suffering from a public health crisis, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

However, prescribers can be part of the solution.

Brought to you by Partnership to End Addiction, Search and Rescue is a prescriber education campaign, operating on a grant from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),* with the sole purpose of providing health care professionals with the tools and resources they need to help patients avoid prescription drug misuse, abuse, and addiction.

graphic of medicine bottle
Between 21% and 29%

of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them2

What You Can Do To Make A Difference3-5

Start by Prescribing Non-opioid Pain Relief Whenever Possible

If opioids appear to be necessary, begin with the lowest effective dosage and a short-term prescription

Check your state's PDMP to monitor your patient's prescribing activity

To better minimize risk of patient death, avoid prescribing benzodiazepines along with opioids

Use the other resources available through Search and Rescue

Opioid Abuse Today

  • people grpahic

    In 2019, 1.4 million Americans had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers6

  • pen and book graphic

    4 out of 5 people who use heroin misused a prescription opioid first7

  • map 40+

    All 50 states have reported increased opioid-related mortality during the pandemic8

An Expert Approach to Opioids

Find out how to safely reduce patient risk before you prescribe and during treatment.

*This campaign is supported by the FDA of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of financial assistance award U18FD004593, with 100% funded by the FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the FDA/HHS or the US Government.

  1. Drug overdose deaths up 29.4% in 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  2. Vowles KE, McEntee ML, Julnes PS, Frohe T, Ney JP, van der Goes DN. Rates of opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction in chronic pain: a systematic review and data synthesis. Pain. 2015;156(4):569-576.
  3. Why guidelines for primary care providers? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed August 6, 2021.
  4. Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed August 6, 2021.
  5. PDMP policies and practices. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center website. Accessed August 6, 2021.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Accessed September 9, 2021.
  7. Jones CM. Heroin use and heroin use risk behaviors among nonmedical users of prescription opioid pain relievers—United States, 2002-2004 and 2008-2010. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013;132(1-2):95-100.
  8. Issue brief: Nation’s drug-related overdose and death epidemic continues to worsen. American Medical Association website.
  9. U.S. state opioid dispensing rates, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed September 8, 2021.