What is the US Opioid Epidemic?

  • In the late 1990's, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.
  • Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.
  • In 2017 HHS declared a public health emergency and announced a 5-Point Strategy To Combat the Opioid Crisis
  • Visit the Department of Health and Human Services web page on the opiod epidemic for more information and statistics.
Opioids Information Graphic, link to accessible version follows

Download the Opioid Epidemic in the U.S. The Opioids By The Numbers” graphic and PDF are currently undergoing 508 review. Assistive technology users should email 508helpdesk@hhs.gov.