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The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.

Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

What Can You Do to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths?

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The Public

Learn more about opioids in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose.

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Consider ways to increase use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which are among the most promising state-level interventions.

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Healthcare Providers

Consider CDC’s opioid prescribing guideline for chronic pain, which helps primary care providers offer safer, more effective care.

CDC’s Work to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

CDC is committed to an approach that protects the public’s health and prevents opioid overdose deaths.

Improving Data

Improving data quality and timeliness to better track trends, identify communities at risk, and evaluate prevention strategies.

Strengthening State Efforts

Strengthening state efforts by scaling up effective interventions.

Equipping Health Care Providers

Improving patient safety by equipping health care providers with the data and tools needed to improve opioid prescribing.

New Prescribing Guideline Resources

Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

New Opioid Guideline Resources are available for providers, patients, and partners.


HHS Efforts

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Price is committed to addressing opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose. HHS has developed a five-point comprehensive strategy: (1) better data, (2) better pain treatment, (3) more addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services, (4) more overdose reversers, and (5) better research. Several agencies within HHS have joined the effort.


Note: The CDC Opioid Overdose site contains information on opioids. To see more of CDC’s work on other substances, visit the CDC A-Z index.