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As the opioid crisis affects more than 2 million Americans, public health professionals are leading the effort to combat the devastation in their communities.|

Prescription drug abuse has infiltrated every neighborhood across the nation, resulting in deadly consequences.  Every day, 44 Americans die from an opioid overdose and heroin deaths have nearly quadrupled over the last decade.


In this special report, we examine the opioid epidemic through the lens of local public health agencies and present the staggering facts that face the nation, including:

  • 259 painkiller prescriptions were written by health care providers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills

  • 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone is consumed by U.S. patients, as is 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone and 65 percent of the world’s hydromorphone

  • Of the 9.4 million Americans who take opioids for long-term pain, 2.1 million are estimated by the National Institute of Health to be hooked and are in danger of turning to the black market

  • 4 out of 5 heroin addicts say they came to the drug from prescription painkillers


To avoid the destruction of an entire generation, our report provides thoughtful substance-abuse strategies proposed by national leaders, political influencers and public health officials.

Also, public health agencies will receive a comprehensive, 8-step coordinated response plan, proposed by The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), to aid them in their dedicated effort to combat the crisis.

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