CRF Blog

Opioid addiction, deaths, and treatment

by Bill Hayes

USAFacts analyzes the latest data on Opioid addiction, deaths, and treatment.

What is driving the supply of opioids?

The increase in supply is driven by both legal prescriptions for opioid painkillers and illegal heroin trafficking.

The availability of prescriptions painkillers peaked in 2012 at 81 prescriptions per 100 people. Recent efforts to curtail overprescription have brought that down to 59 prescriptions per 100 people as of 2017. However, according to the CDC, “more than 17 percent of Americans had at least one opioid prescription filled, with an average of 3.4 opioid prescriptions dispensed per patient” in 2017. The average number of days per prescription has continued to increase as well, to 18 days in 2017 – a statistic that may be impacted by a host of new state laws limiting prescriptions to fewer days to try to avoid addiction. [more]