CDC's Efforts to Prevent Opioid Overdoses and Other Opioid-Related Harms
Drug overdoses have dramatically increased over the last two decades, with deaths increasing more than four times between 1999 and 2017.
- In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States.
- Of those deaths, about 68 percent involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
- Adults between the ages of 25 and 54 years old have the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths.
One of CDC’s priorities is raising awareness about the risks of prescription opioid misuse with consumers. To accomplish this, CDC launched the Rx Awareness communication campaign that features testimonials from people recovering from opioid use disorder and people who have lost loved ones to opioid overdose. The goal of the campaign is to educate consumers about the risks of prescription opioids and the importance of discussing safer and more effective pain management with their healthcare providers. CDC is also promoting awareness of risks associated with non-medical use of opioids, factors that increase risks (such as fentanyl in the local drug supply), and approaches to reduce risks.
CDC’s national leadership is turning the tide. Learn about the 2018 accomplishments of important CDC work during the current opioid crisis.
In 2006, CDC initiated efforts to better track and understand data related to the growing opioid overdose epidemic. A scientist from CDC noticed an uptick in poisoning deaths and heard troubling news from state medical examiners about increases in drug overdose deaths. Prescription opioids were identified as the primary concern.
Since then, CDC has provided leadership by promoting a public health approach to the problem. In FY 2019, CDC received $475 million for opioid overdose prevention and surveillance activities with the majority of these funds supporting state-based for prevention efforts.
Programs across CDC are working to prevent opioid overdoses and other opioid-related harms, including opioid use disorder, hepatitis and HIV infections, and neonatal abstinence syndrome.
CDC is committed to preventing opioid misuse, overdose, and deaths.