In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2
Source: Drug Abuse, NIH
Opioid epidemic in one chart – correlation conflated with causation
There is no cause-and-effect relationship between prescribing and overdose mortality. But millions of patients are being denied safe and effective pain care.
Seniors over age 62 are prescribed opioids for pain three times more often than youth under age 19. But youth have overdose rates three times higher than seniors. No medical model can explain these demographics.
Source: Richard A Lawhern, PhD, Patient Advocate