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According to the CDC, healthcare providers wrote 259M prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in 2012, which is enough for every adult in America to fill one prescription.
Source: Paulozzi LJ, Mack KA, Hockenberry JM. Vital signs: variation among states in prescribing of opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines—United States, 2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014;63:563–8.
The prescribing rates for controlled substances among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007.
Source: Fortuna RJ, Robbins BW, Caiola E, Joynt M, Halterman JS. Prescribing of controlled medications to adolescents and young adults in the United States. Pediatrics. 2010;126(6):1108-1116.
Over half of young adults who misused prescription opioids got them from a friend or family member.
Source: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2017). 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
In 2010, for every woman that died of a prescription painkiller overdose, 30 went to the ER for misuse or abuse.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women — United States, 1999–2010. MMWR 2013;62:537-542.
Adolescent athletes in some high-injury sports are at a 50% higher risk of misusing prescription painkillers than their peers who don't participate in these sports.
Source: Veliz PT, Boyd C, McCabe SE. Playing through pain: sports participation and nonmedical use of opioid medications among adolescents. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(5):e28–e30. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301242
Every day in 2017, an estimated 1,300 young adults misused an opioid prescription for the first time.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Dependence on prescription opioids can happen after just five days.
Source: Shah A, Hayes CJ, Martin BC. Characteristics of Initial Prescription Episodes and Likelihood of Long-Term Opioid Use — United States, 2006–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:265–269. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6610a1
More than 17,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2017.
Source: Scholl L, Seth P, Kariisa M, Wilson N, Baldwin G. Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;67:1419–1427. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm675152e1
Non-addictive painkillers, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can be just as effective as prescription opioids at reducing certain types of pain.
Source: Chang AK, Bijur PE, Esses D, Barnaby DP, Baer J. Effect of a Single Dose of Oral Opioid and Nonopioid Analgesics on Acute Extremity Pain in the Emergency DepartmentA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA.2017;318(17):1661–1667. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16190
80% of heroin users started with a prescription painkiller.
Source: Jones CM. Heroin use and heroin use risk behaviors among nonmedical users of prescription opioid pain relievers – United States, 2002-2004 and 2008-2010. Drug Alcohol Depend (2013) 132:95–100
Opioid painkillers like Vicodin® and OxyContin® are chemically similar to heroin.
Source: NIDA. Opioids. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids. . Accessed May 11, 2018.
In 2011, more than 420,000 emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of narcotic pain relievers.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2013.