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7 Alarming Facts About the Opioid Epidemic

What Is the Opioid Epidemic

Millions of Americans use opioids every year to manage their pain. While opioids prescribed by doctors may be appropriate in certain cases, they only put a bandaid on the pain. In turn this has resulted in heavy dependence on opioids and propelled the worst opioid epidemic in American History.  

Collaboration is essential for success in preventing opioid overdose deaths. Medical personnel, emergency departments, first responders, public safety officials, mental health and substance use treatment providers, community-based organizations, public health, and members of the community all bring awareness, resources, and expertise to address this complex and fast-moving opioid epidemic. Together, we can better coordinate efforts to prevent opioid overdoses and deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Physicians have released updated guidelines and reports urging healthcare providers to use safe, non-drug alternatives, such as physical therapy, for all non-cancer-related pain treatments. Unfortunately alternative methods of pain management are not always the help that most people in need receive. This blog will highlight some alarming facts about the nature of the opioid epidemic we are currently dealing with.


Statistics and facts about the opioid epidemic:

1. More than 191,000,000 prescriptions were written by US health care professionals in 2017 for opioid pain medication.     

2. The majority of opioid prescriptions in America are written by primary care physicians.    

3. In 2017, prescription opioids were misused by more than 11 million people.    

4. More than 1000 people are treated every day in emergency rooms for misuse of prescription opioids.    

5. 2017 saw nearly 17,000. Prescription opioids were responsible for more than 35%, or 35%, of all opioid overdose deaths.    

6. Overdoses of prescription opioids led to the deaths of nearly 218,000 Americans between 1999 and 2017.  

7. According to the CDC, the economic impact of the opioid epidemic in America is estimated at $78.5 billion per year.    


The opioid epidemic is not a cut-and-dry issue. There are many challenges to be considered including the numerous barriers that have been built into the healthcare system along with the underlying behavioral health issues that often occur in patients that are struggling with opioid abuse.

If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction or substance abuse, please contact us today. We are here to help you along the way, and throughout your road to recovery.

Opioid Epidemic
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