CDC in Action: 2018 Response to the Opioid Crisis

The opioid overdose epidemic is the public health crisis of our time, devastating families and communities across the United States. Over the past few years, U.S. life expectancy has declined, a trend largely driven by deaths from drug overdose. In 2017, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.—more than 47,000 of these involved prescription or illicit opioids.

CDC’s national leadership is turning the tide. While drug overdose deaths remain high, new data show that increases have slowed; from 2016 to 2017, the number of drug overdose deaths increased 10%, which is a smaller increase compared to the 21% increase from 2015 to 2016.

This report, organized around CDC’s Strategic Framework for Prevention, describes significant accomplishments in 2018 as CDC responds to the opioid crisis, including:

  • Investments in opioid overdose surveillance and research to help track public health outbreaks, quickly identify changes in opioid overdoses, and develop more targeted interventions.
  • Increased support to states, territories, tribes, and non-governmental organizations working to prevent opioid-related overdoses, deaths, and other outcomes.
  • Provider education and resources for improving the quality of care in clinical practice, promoting safer and more effective opioid prescribing for pain management, as well as linking patients to appropriate care for opioid use disorder.
  • Innovative strategies to foster collaboration between law enforcement and public health.
  • Consumer education about the risks of prescription opioids to reduce exposure and prevent opioid use disorder long-term.

Download the report. pdf icon[PDF – 3 MB]