Opioid Abuse in the U.S. and HHS Actions to Address Opioid-Drug Related Overdoses and Deaths [open pdf - 148KB]
"The abuse of and addiction to opioids is a serious and challenging public health problem. Deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Prescription drugs, especially opioid analgesics-a class of prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone used to treat both acute and chronic pain- have increasingly been implicated in drug overdose deaths over the last decade. From 1999 to 2013, the rate for drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics nearly quadrupled. Deaths related to heroin have also increased sharply since 2010, with a 39 percent increase between 2012 and 2013. Given these alarming trends, it is time for a smart and sustainable response to prevent opioid abuse and overdose and treat people with opioid use disorder. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has made addressing the opioid abuse problem a high priority and is committed to accelerating its work towards two broad goals: 1) decreasing opioid overdoses and overall overdose mortality and 2) decreasing the prevalence of opioid use disorder. Priority areas for action were identified through a Department wide effort that tapped all the scientific, analytical and programmatic expertise contained in HHS agencies. The development effort also relied on discussions with states and other stakeholder organizations."
United States, Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/