Opioid Addiction Facts from the White House Opiate Commission – October 2017

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law on October 26, 2017, and acknowledged this crisis as one of epic proportion, impacting nearly every community across all 50 states.

  • In 2016, 10.6% of people aged 12 or older (2.3 million people) who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.

  • In 2016, 91.8 million people (ages 12 or older) in the United States use pain relievers in the past year. Of these, 11.5 million people reported misuse of pain relievers.

  • Powerful environmental factors can shape the course of heroin addiction. A study found that of the heroin-dependent soldiers who returned to the United States after the Vietnam War, only 12% were still drug dependent three years later. These results illustrate that external factors such as lack of housing, lack of resources may influence the course of heroin addiction.

  • Mortality for individuals with an opiate addiction is 6-20 times higher than that of the general population. In the United States, the primary cause of mortality under the age of 50 is overdose deaths.

  • A recent Brookings Institution study examining the implications of the opioid crisis on the labor force suggests that the increase in opioid prescriptions could account for much of the decline in the labor force participation of “prime-age men” (ages 25-54). The Bureau of Labor Statistics Time-Use Survey finds that 44% of prime-age men not in the labor force acknowledged taking pain medications the previous day.

  • Prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence carry high costs. In 2013, it was estimated that the total economic burden was $78.5 billion (in 2013 dollars).

  • The crisis in opioid overdose deaths has reached epidemic proportions in the United States (33,091 in 2015), and currently exceeds all other drug-related deaths or traffic fatalities.

  • According to a CDC Report, more Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 (64,070) than the number of American lives lost in the entirety of the Vietnam War, which totaled 58,200.

  • Relapse rates for individuals are 50-90% in the first year after receiving inpatient rehab treatment.