The opioid epidemic refers to the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioids in the United States.
Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects.
American Epidemic: The Nation's Struggle With Opioid Addiction by Wall Street Journal
Opiates are a class of strong painkillers or analgesic drugs, including those naturally derived from opium, such as morphine and heroin.
Heroin, also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opioid typically used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects.
Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate type which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals.
An analgesic or painkiller is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia, relief from pain.
Inside the worst drug-induced epidemic in US history by Fox News
Opioids are synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs that are similar to opiates and include such drugs as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and fentanyl.
Oxycodone is a semisynthetic opioid synthesized from thebaine, an opioid alkaloid found in the Persian poppy, and one of the many alkaloids found in the opium poppy.
The combination oxycodonenon-opioid pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe acute pain, marketed by Endo International plc, formerly Endo Pharmaceuticals.
HydrocodoneAPAP and marketed under the trade name Vicodin among others, is the combination of an opioid pain medication, hydrocodone, with paracetamol.
According to the DEA, "overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels."
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States.
The term drug overdose describes the ingestion or application of a drug or other substance in quantities greater than are recommended or generally practiced.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.
In 2015, 52,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and in 2016 the numbers increased another 19 percent, to approximately 62,000.
2017 figures as of June indicate the problem continues to worsen.
Two thirds of the deaths are from opioids.
By comparison, in 2010 the figure was 16,000 and in 1999, 4,000.
In 2016, deaths from overdoses increased over the previous year by 26% in Connecticut, 35% in Delaware, 39% in Maine, and 62% in Maryland.
Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east.
Delaware is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic and/or Northeastern regions of the United States.
Maine is the northernmost state in the New England region of the northeastern United States.
Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
The present opioid epidemic has the historically highest opioid death rate, killing on average 10.3 people per 100,000.
In some states it is far worse: over 30 per 100,000 in New Hampshire and over 40 per 100,000 in West Virginia.
With the ongoing crisis, opinions about drug abuse have changed and the moral, social, and cultural resistance to heroin and opioid use has weakened.
In March 2017, the governor of Maryland declared a State of Emergency to combat the epidemic.
CDC director Thomas Frieden has said that "America is awash in opioids; urgent action is critical."