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Opioid Crisis Fast Facts (CNN)

Opioid Crisis Fast Facts
CNN Library – Updated 12:28 PM ET, Mon September 18, 2017

Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic, as more than two million of Americans have become dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs.

Opioids are drugs formulated to replicate the pain reducing properties of opium. They include both legal painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone prescribed by doctors for acute or chronic pain, as well as illegal drugs like heroin or illicitly made fentanyl. The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium.”

During 2015, there were 52,404 overdose deaths in the United States, including 33,091 (63.1%) that involved an opioid. That’s an average of 91 opioid overdose deaths each day.

The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016. . . . READ MORE

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