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Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

September 6, 2022

Clinical Studies, Featured Articles

The number of drug overdose deaths increased by nearly 5% from 2018 to 2019 and has quadrupled since 19991. Over 70% of the 70,630 deaths in 2019 involved an opioid. From 2018 to 2019, there were significant changes in opioid-involved death rates:

  • Opioid-involved death rates increased by over 6%.
  • Prescription opioid-involved death rates decreased by nearly 7%.
  • Heroin-involved death rates decreased by over 6%.
  • Synthetic opioid-involved death rates (excluding methadone) increased by over 15%.

Combatting the Opioid Overdose Epidemic

CDC is committed to fighting the opioid overdose epidemic and supporting states and communities as they continue work to identify outbreaks, collect data, respond to overdoses, and provide care to those in their communities. Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) is a 3-year cooperative agreement through which CDC funds health departments in 47 states, Washington DC, two territories, and 16 cities and counties for surveillance and prevention efforts. These efforts include timelier tracking of nonfatal and fatal drug overdoses, improving toxicology to better track polysubstance-involved deaths, enhancing linkage to care for people with opioid use disorder and risk for opioid overdose, improving prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing health systems interventions, partnering with public safety, and implementing other innovative surveillance and prevention activities.
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