The Opioid Crisis
From Initial Prescription to Misuse7

The inherent qualities of opioids can easily contribute to misuse. These qualities include feelings of euphoria and stress relief, as well as side effects such as tolerance and withdrawal.

Not all patients take opioids as prescribed. Even when opioids are taken as prescribed, patients may still become addicted—and the overwhelming statistics supports this school of thought.8


The Opioid Crisis: Essential Statistics
Prescription opioid misuse is a problem with devastating consequences.

In 2018, 1.7 million Americans had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers8

Of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in 2018, 22% involved a prescription opioid9

In 2018, 128 people died each day from an opioid-related overdose10

4 out of 5 people who use heroin misused a prescription opioid first11



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 avoid greater risk of patient death, don't prescribe benzodiazepines along with opioids
Use the other resources available through Search and Rescue
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Opioid Overdose. Accessed May 8, 2020.
  2. The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) Fact Sheet. American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians website. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  3. State prescription drug monitoring programs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Drug Enforcement Administration website. Updated June 2016. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  4. Prescription drug monitoring frequently asked questions (FAQ). Brandeis University. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center website. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  5. U.S. State Prescribing Rates, 2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Updated July 31, 2017. Accessed March 23, 2018.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Prescription Opioid Overdose Data. Accessed May 8, 2020.
  7. Why guidelines for primary care providers? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results From the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Published August 2019. Accessed May 8, 2020.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Overdose Death Rates.,of%20deaths%20dropped%20to%2014%2C975.. Accessed May 8, 2020.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug Overdose Death Data.,of%20deaths%20dropped%20to%2014%2C975.. Accessed May 8, 2020.
  11. 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.

*This website is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award U18FD004593 totaling $4,078,749 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.