The Opioid Crisis
From Initial Prescription to Misuse7
  • The inherent qualities of opioids can easily contribute to misuse
  • These qualities include inducing feelings of euphoria and stress relief, as well as side effects such as tolerance and withdrawal
  • Even when taken as prescribed, patients may still become addicted
  • Not all patients take opioids as prescribed

The Opioid Crisis: Essential Statistics
Prescription opioid misuse is a growing problem with devastating consequences.
  • In 2015, 2 million Americans had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers8

  • Of the 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 40% involved a prescription opioid1,9

  • Every day in the United States, there are 115 deaths related to opioids10

  • 4 out of 5 heroin users abused a prescription
    opioid first11

    Make sure to screen your patients for addiction or risk factors for abuse.

What Can You Do to Make a Difference?7
  • 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 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 March 22, 2018.
  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. Office of Diversion Control 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 March 30, 2018.
  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 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Published September 2016. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  9. Hedegaard H, Warner M, Miniño AM. Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2016. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug Overdose Death Data. Accessed March 22, 2018.
  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.

*The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids wishes to acknowledge that this work was supported by the US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, under grant number 5U18FD004593-08. The content is solely the responsibility of the Partnership and does not necessarily represent the official views of the US Food and Drug Administration.