Substance use disorders and the harms associated with these diseases are a serious, growing public health problem in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug overdose deaths increased over 29% in 2020, to total more than 93,000. Nearly three-quarters of these deaths involved opioids.
More than 2 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, but only about 25% of people receive any sort of care. For many, inpatient treatment often means leaving a job and loved ones behind to seek recovery.
In 2018, opioid overdoses in the United States caused one death every 11 minutes, resulting in nearly 47,000 fatalities. The most effective treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
Individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) struggle to get effective care: Of 2 million Americans with the illness, only 26% receive treatment. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic presents an added strain on the U.S. health care system, it is creating greater hardships for those seeking OUD treatment.
Opioid-related overdose deaths and related harms continue to devastate communities across the country, and local resources—including emergency medical services, law enforcement, and health care providers—are under immense strain to respond.
Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative
Prescriber use mandates are state laws that require health care providers to check the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)—a state-based electronic database intended to help reduce misuse and diversion of controlled substances—under specific circumstances.
Opioid use disorder is a complex brain disease, but it is often still viewed as a moral failing. This stigma can keep people from accessing care for their disease, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines Food and Drug Administration-approved medications with behavioral therapies. Watch how MAT can help people manage their disease, a critical step in reducing the risk of overdose and improving health.
Of the largest cities and urban counties in the United States, Philadelphia is one of those hit hardest by opioid use disorder (OUD), outpacing all but a few in overdose deaths per capita. In 2020, it recorded 1,214 unintentional drug deaths, its second-highest number on record and the fourth straight year that the annual total surpassed 1,100.