The Opioid Crisis

graphic from report

Opioids are drugs commonly prescribed by physicians to treat and manage pain. Opioid-based medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl. Opioids also include the illicit drug heroin, which has a similar effect on the body as prescription opioids. All opioids are highly addictive, and when misused or abused can lead to overdose and death. There has been a sharp increase in the use and misuse of opioids in the United States. Since 1999 the number of prescription opioid-related deaths has quadrupled, and currently, more than 60 percent of all drug-related deaths involve prescription opioids.