The opioid overdose epidemic affects millions of Americans and their families. Nationwide polls reveal that 49% of respondents personally know someone who is or has been addicted to prescription opioid medication.1 In 2017, more than 49 000 people died in the United States of opioid overdoses, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2 This crisis has spanned different phases, beginning with increased overdose deaths from prescription opioids, which then evolved to increased heroin overdose deaths, and most recently manifesting as a dramatic spike in overdose deaths from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.
Adams JM, Giroir BP. Opioid Prescribing Trends and the Physician’s Role in Responding to the Public Health Crisis. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(4):476–478. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7934
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