The Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a national catastrophe. Every state and all demographics have been tragically impacted by this crisis.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

    Call Now

    Treatment Center Locator

    What Is the Opioid Epidemic?

    The Majority Of Victims Of The Opioid Epidemic Became Addicted As A Result Of PrescriptionsYou’ve no doubt heard the term opioid epidemic get thrown around in the news. The opioid epidemic, also known as the opioid crisis. has become a hot button issue in the media. However, many may not know what the crisis actually is.

    The opioid epidemic specifically refers to the growing number of deaths and hospitalizations from opioids, including prescriptions, illicit drugs, and analogues. In recent years, death rates from these drugs have ramped up to over 40,000 a year, or 115 a day, across the US. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, largely due to the opioid epidemic.

    What Are Opioids?

    Opioids are a classification of drug that is derived from, or a synthetic version of, opium. Morphine, the most abundant natural opioid found in opium, was used for years as a pain reliever. As medicine advanced, we found ways to replicate the effects of morphine to make it stronger or weaker depending on need. Some opioids, like methadone, were developed due to a scarcity of morphine, while others, like heroin, were made in an attempt to make less addictive drugs but would later be made illegal to produce. Today, opioids are almost synonymous with pain relief. Examples of common Opioids include:

    How the Opioid Epidemic Started

    Many trace the issue back to the late 90s. As pharmaceutical companies were looking for new pain killers, they began to push synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids to doctors. The companies would say that the drugs were either less- or non-addictive in comparison to morphine and had no dangerous side effects. Naturally, doctors began pushing these drugs as they saw no repercussions to patients taking them. This growth in the prescription opioid business directly pushed the distribution of opioids to levels that remain to this day, contributing to the epidemic we are now dealing with.



    Deaths across the US have steadily grown over time. There have been 115 a day, on average, since 2014.



    80% of people suffering from an addiction to heroin started with a prescription for an opioid pain reliever.



    The costs of prescription opioid misuse in the US comes out to $78.5 billion a year.

    The Prescription Opioid Epidemic

    Many of those who become addicted to opioids do so after initially receiving a prescription. The highly addictive nature of these pain relievers makes it easy for the human brain to crave more. It is only after their prescription ends that many users realize they’ve become dependent on the effects of opioids  to function “normally.” At that point, they are either forced to get clean and endure the pain that comes with the withdrawal symptoms of opioids or look for another means of getting their high. This is often the time where people will turn to illicit drugs or other analogues. Because prescription opioids are so expensive, this is when many users turn to heroin. It is often cheaper, more potent, and easier to locate than what they were taking before. In fact, about 80% of people using heroin started with a prescription to another opioid.

    Because they turned to heroin doesn’t mean that they were addicted. They were more likely just dependent on the effects of having opioids in their system. After using heroin, however, 23% of individuals develop opioid addiction.

    Background image

    Ready to get help?

    Our phone number is available 24/7 to help you or your loved one find a treatment center that suits your needs. It only takes one call to start your new life in recovery.
    Don’t waste another second. Call now to speak with a compassionate treatment expert.

    Speak with an expert (855) 826-4464

    - OR -

    Let us call you
    (877) 746-0480

      How the Opioid Epidemic Is Different from Other Drug Problems

      The Opioid Epidemic, Also Known As The Opioid Crisis, Is One Of America's Biggest ChallengesThe number of people dying of accidental overdose of opioids eclipses every other drug combined, which is why the term opioid epidemic was coined. In 2015, the US saw 52,404 deaths from drug overdose. More than 20,000 of those were from prescription pain relievers, and close to 13,000 were from heroin. That means 63% of drug deaths were tied to opioids. That number of opioid-related deaths grew by nearly 10,000 the following year.

      Perhaps the most stifling part of this is how many deaths come from prescriptions. These aren’t people who are using heroin or some other illegal drug. These are people who are using medication they got from a doctor.



      In 1992, before the major push for opioids from pharmaceutical companies, doctors wrote 112 opioid prescriptions.



      In 2016, the number of opioid prescriptions had increased to 236 million after a peak of 282 million in 2014.

      Who the Opioid Epidemic Affects

      In short, the opioid epidemic affects people in all demographics and from all walks of life, including teensseniors, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. Even those who do not use or abuse opioids can feel the effects if opioid abuse is common in their area or if their loved ones have addiction issues. The economic burden, and the emotional burden put on families, has been dragging many down.

      What Can We Do?

      The opioid epidemic isn’t one person’s problem, and so it will take everyone to beat it. Knowing the dangers, signs, and symptoms of opioid abuse can save someone’s life. Talk with your loved ones openly and remove the stigma of addiction. It isn’t something that only happens to the weak. It is a biological reaction that can happen to anyone, with or without their knowledge.

      If you believe you or a loved one show the symptoms of addiction, reach out to a treatment expert immediately. Addiction doesn’t have to be the end, it can just be a detour.

      Get help today

      Don't go through the process of recovery alone. Get in touch with someone who can help.

      (877) 746-0480

        What does it mean that this site is brought to you by Delphi Behavioral Health Group?

        We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that AddictionCenter is compensated by Delphi Behavioral Health Group for the work AddictionCenter does in the development and operation of this site. Delphi Behavioral Health Group was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with AddictionCenter, based on the quality of treatment that Delphi provides and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices. Learn more about why Delphi Behavioral Health Group is a trusted provider with AddictionCenter.

        All calls to numbers on individual facility listings will always go to the facility listed. All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Delphi Behavioral Health Group. If Delphi Behavioral Health Group is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.

        Get 24/7 help now. All calls free and confidential.

        (855) 826-4464

        Take control of your life

        Our treatment specialists offer 24/7 assistance.

        • Access to top treatment centers
        • Caring, supportive guidance
        • Financial assistance options

        Call now:

        (855) 826-4464


        Have us call you:

        (877) 746-0480

          Where do calls go?

          Calls to numbers dedicated to a specific treatment center profile will be routed to that treatment center. All other calls will be routed to Delphi Behavioral Health Group.

          Rehab experts are available 24/7/365 to answer and return calls routed to Delphi.

          All calls are private and confidential.

          How do we choose our partners?

          Find out more about AddictionCenter.

          A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.