The Opioid Overdose Crisis

Related Chapters:

Looking for a referral to, or more information about, mental health or substance use treatment services? The American Board of Preventive Medicine provides this service to locate physicians who are certified in specialists in Addiction Medicine

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
"SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information."
SAMHSA's website also offers a free, confidential Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

Page last updated June 10, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

1. Estimated Prevalence of Heroin Use in the US

"An estimated 808,000 people aged 12 or older in 2018 used heroin in the past year (Figure 10), which corresponds to about 0.3 percent of the population (Figure 14). The estimate of past year heroin use in 2018 was higher than the estimates for most years between 2002 and 2008, but it was similar to the estimates in 2009 to 2017.

"Aged 12 to 17
"In 2018, less than 0.1 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 were past year heroin users (Figure 14). This percentage represents about 10,000 adolescents who used heroin in the past year. The estimate of past year heroin use among adolescents in 2018 was lower than the estimates for most years in 2002 to 2014, but it was similar to the estimates in 2015 to 2017. About 0.1 to 0.2 percent of adolescents used heroin in any year from 2002 to 2017.

"Aged 18 to 25
"Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2018, 0.5 percent were past year heroin users (Figure 14). This percentage represents 157,000 young adults who used heroin in the past year. The percentage of young adults in 2018 who were past year heroin users was similar to the percentages in 2002 to 2010 and from 2015 to 2017, but it was lower than the percentages in 2011 through 2014 (ranging from 0.7 to 0.8 percent).

"Aged 26 or Older
"In 2018, an estimated 0.3 percent of adults aged 26 or older were past year heroin users (Figure 14). This percentage represents 641,000 adults in this age group who used heroin in the past year. The percentage of adults aged 26 or older in 2018 who were past year heroin users was similar to the percentages in 2013 to 2017, but it was slightly higher than the percentages in most years from 2002 through 2012 (ranging from 0.1 to 0.2 percent)."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
https://store.samhsa.gov/produ...
https://store.samhsa.gov/syste...

2. Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths in the US

"Of the 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, approximately two thirds (47,600) involved an opioid (1). In recent years, increases in opioid-involved overdose deaths have been driven primarily by deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (hereafter referred to as synthetic opioids) (1). CDC analyzed changes in age-adjusted death rates from 2017 to 2018 involving all opioids and opioid subcategories* by demographic characteristics, county urbanization levels, U.S. Census region, and state. During 2018, a total of 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, a 4.1% decline from 2017; 46,802 (69.5%) involved an opioid (2). From 2017 to 2018, deaths involving all opioids, prescription opioids, and heroin decreased 2%, 13.5%, and 4.1%, respectively. However, deaths involving synthetic opioids increased 10%, likely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), including fentanyl analogs (1,3)."

Wilson N, Kariisa M, Seth P, Smith H 4th, Davis NL. Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths - United States, 2017-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(11):290‐297. Published 2020 Mar 20. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6911a4
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/...

3. Drugs Most Frequently Mentioned in Overdose Deaths in the US 2011-2016

"The number of drug overdose deaths per year increased 54%, from 41,340 deaths in 2011 to 63,632 deaths in 2016 (Table A). From the literal text analysis, the percentage of drug overdose deaths mentioning at least one specific drug or substance increased from 73% of the deaths in 2011 to 85% of the deaths in 2016. The percentage of drug overdose deaths that mentioned only a drug class but not a specific drug or substance declined from 5.1% of deaths in 2011 to 2.5% in 2016. Review of the literal text for these deaths indicated that the deaths that mentioned only a drug class frequently involved either an opioid or an opiate (ranging from 54% in 2015 to 60% in 2016). The percentage of deaths that did not mention a specific drug or substance or a drug class declined from 22% of drug overdose deaths in 2011 to 13% in 2016."

Hedegaard H, Bastian BA, Trinidad JP, Spencer M, Warner M. Drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths: United States, 2011–2016. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 67 no 9. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/produ...
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/...

4. Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths in the US 2011–2016

"For the top 15 drugs:

"• Among drug overdose deaths that mentioned at least one specific drug, oxycodone ranked first in 2011,heroin from 2012 through 2015, and fentanyl in 2016.

"• In 2011 and 2012, fentanyl was mentioned in approximately 1,600 drug overdose deaths each year, but mentions increased in 2013 (1,919 deaths),2014 (4,223 deaths), 2015 (8,251 deaths), and 2016(18,335 deaths). In 2016, 29% of all drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of fentanyl.

"• The number of drug overdose deaths involving heroin increased threefold, from 4,571 deaths or 11% of all drug overdose deaths in 2011 to 15,961 deaths or 25% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016.

"• Throughout the study period, cocaine ranked second or third among the top 15 drugs. From 2014 through 2016, the number of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine nearly doubled from 5,892 to 11,316.

"• The number of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine increased 3.6-fold, from 1,887 deaths in 2011 to 6,762 deaths in 2016.

"• The number of drug overdose deaths involving methadone decreased from 4,545 deaths in 2011 to 3,493 deaths in 2016."

Hedegaard H, Bastian BA, Trinidad JP, Spencer M, Warner M. Drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths: United States, 2011–2016. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 67 no 9. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/produ...
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/...

5. Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths in the US 2011–2016

"The percentage of deaths with concomitant involvement of other drugs varied by drug. For example, almost all drug overdose deaths involving alprazolam or diazepam (96%) mentioned involvement of other drugs. In contrast, 50% of the drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine, and 69% of the drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl mentioned involvement of one or more other specific drugs.

"Table D shows the most frequent concomitant drug mentions for each of the top 10 drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in 2016.

"• Two in five overdose deaths involving cocaine also mentioned fentanyl.

"• Nearly one-third of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl also mentioned heroin (32%).

"• Alprazolam was mentioned in 26% of the overdose deaths involving hydrocodone, 22% of the deaths involving methadone, and 25% of the deaths involving oxycodone.

"• More than one-third of the overdose deaths involving cocaine also mentioned heroin (34%).

"• More than 20% of the overdose deaths involving methamphetamine also mentioned heroin."

Hedegaard H, Bastian BA, Trinidad JP, Spencer M, Warner M. Drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths: United States, 2011–2016. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 67 no 9. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/produ...
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/...

Pages