Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain.
The number of drug overdose deaths has never been higher, and the majority of these deaths (more than six out of ten in 2015) involved opioids.2
It is important to reduce exposure to opioids and prevent abuse, while also providing treatment and preventing overdose death.
Commonly Used Terms
Opioid use disorder
A problematic pattern of opioid use that causes clinically significant impairment or distress. A diagnosis is based on specific criteria such as unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use, as well as use resulting in social problems and a failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home. Opioid use disorder has also been referred to as “opioid abuse or dependence” or “opioid addiction.”
Adaptation to a drug that produces symptoms of withdrawal when the drug is stopped.
Reduced response to a drug with repeated use.
The use of prescription drugs without a prescription, or in a manner other than as directed by the prescriber.
Injury to the body that happens when a drug is taken in excessive amounts. An overdose can be fatal or nonfatal.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
Treatment for opioid use disorder combining the use of medications (methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone) with counseling and behavioral therapies.
- Algren D, Monteilh C, Rubin C, et al. Fentanyl-associated fatalities among illicit drug users in Wayne County, Michigan (July 2005-May 2006). Journal Of Medical Toxicology: Official Journal of the American College Of Medical Toxicology [serial online]. March 2013; 9(1):106-115.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths, United States, 2010-2015. MMWR 2016.