Statistics on Opioid Trends in the United States
Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain.
Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain but can also have serious risks and side effects.
- More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to American patients in 2017—with wide variation across states.1
- In 2016, more than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in the past year.1
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain.2 Illegally made and distributed fentanyl has been on the rise in several states.
- Rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, increased over 56% from 2019 to 2020.
Heroin is an illegal opioid.
- 36 people die every day from an overdose death involving heroin in the United States.3
- Over 19% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2020 involved heroin.4
For more information, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/index.html
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States. Surveillance Special Report 2
2 Algren D, Monteilh C, Rubin C, et al. Fentanyl-associated fatalities among illicit drug users in Wayne County, Michigan (July 2005-May 2006).Journal Of Medical Toxicology: Official Journal of the American College Of Medical Toxicology [serial online]. March 2013; 9(1):106-115.
3 Jones CM, Logan J, Gladden RM, Bohm MK. Vital Signs: Demographic and Substance Use Trends Among Heroin Users — United States, 2002–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2015; 64(26):719-725.
4 Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2021. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.