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Opioid Crisis: Overview

Opioid Epidemic in the United States

Opioid Crisis

  • The opioid crisis, also known as the opioid epidemic, has become a legitimate and frightening problem in the country.
  • It often starts with a pill: prescription opioid misuse can lead to more serious drugs (like heroin and fentanyl).
  • The statistics (misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths) of the opioid crisis in the United States are staggering.
  • Explore the pages, sub-pages, and resources in this guide to learn more.
  • ANYONE can become addicted to opioids or develop a tolerance of physical dependence.
  • Opioid abuse and misuse does NOT discriminate by race, age, or socioeconomic status.
  • ANYONE who takes prescription opioids can become addicted. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop.
  • Many people start using opioids legally for pain relief and then grow dependent on them (even if their pain has gone away).
  • Prescription opioid misuse often leads to more serious drugs (like heroin and fentanyl).
  • ANYONE who is taking opioids can be at risk of an overdose.

Assorted Pills

Poison Symbol


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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.