Substance use disorders and the harms associated with these diseases are a serious, growing public health problem in the United States. Nearly 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015, and more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids. In total, this translates to 91 lives lost each day from a prescription or illicit opioid overdose.
Yet these deaths do not reflect the full public health impact of substance use disorders. Individuals who misuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to develop chronic health conditions, experience poorer health outcomes, and have contact with the criminal justice system. The costs are high: The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that illicit drug and alcohol abuse accounts for more than $400 billion annually related to health care, lost work productivity, and crime.
More than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder. However, in 2015, only about 10 percent of these individuals received any kind of treatment—whether through self-help programs, inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, or doctors’ offices. Effective care, including access to programs that provide medication-assisted treatment, remains elusive for many patients.
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Despite two recent high-profile events related to the opioid crisis—the Trump administration’s announcement of a public health emergency and the release of the final report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis—more action is needed by the administration and Congress. In particular, funding is necessary to carry out the evidence-based... Read More
More than 20 million Americans struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), and upwards of 33,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2015. Fortunately, effective treatment exists. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which pairs U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs with behavioral therapies, reduces both illicit opioid use and overdose fatalities. Read More
We look forward to seeing you at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Boston! Please visit Booth 545 in the exhibit hall to learn about The Pew Charitable Trusts’ work in all 50 states and meet policy experts on issues including fiscal and economic policy, public pensions, evidence-based policymaking, and health policy. Read More