Opioids are natural or synthetic chemicals that bind to receptors in your brain or body. Common opioids include heroin and prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
The United States is in the midst of a prescription opioid overdose epidemic. On October 26, 2017, HHS Acting Secretary declared a public health emergency to address the national opioid crisis. Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 140 Americans die from drug overdoses, 91 specifically due to opioids. 52,404 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015, and preliminary numbers indicate at least 64,000 died in 2016.
Download the above HHS infographic.
Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue, but preventive actions, treatment for addiction, and proper response to overdoses can help. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed a number of strategic resources to battle this ongoing addiction epidemic.