Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone. These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of an addiction to opioids including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.
- Roughly 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse
- Between 8-12% develop an opioid use
- An estimated 4-6% who misuse prescription opioids transition to
- About 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription
Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million-people died from drug overdoses.