Opioid Epidemic: Startling Statistics
National Opioid Crisis

Opioid Epidemic: Scary Statistics

Peter Olszewski
Peter Olszewski

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the opioid epidemic is growing larger and deadlier each year. Prescription opioids are commonly abused because they are so addictive. The “addiction” is caused by the opioids binding to areas of the brain that control pain and emotions that increases the levels of dopamine, a natural hormone our brain produces, giving an intense feeling of euphoria. As the brain becomes familiar with such feelings, it often requires more of the drug to produce the same levels of pain relief and “well-being.” This leads to a dependence on these drugs, which can possibly lead to an addiction to the drugs.

Scary Statistics

  • An estimated 20.5 million Americans ages 12 and older misused opioids in 2015 alone, which stemmed from prescription pills.
  • In 2016 and 2017 more than 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.
  • “Drug overdose” is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015 alone.
  • Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers.
  • In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills.
  • From 1999 to 2010, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment continued to increase yearly. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the rate in 1999.
  • Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription pain relievers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men.
  • Prescription pain reliever overdose deaths among women increased more than 400% from 1999 to 2010, compared to 237% among men.
  • In 2018, there were 46,802 opioid-involving overdose deaths in the United States, 20,000+ more than in 2015.
  • Drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6% from 2018-2019.

At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., we understand how prescription opioid addiction can put someone’s life on hold or tragically cut it short. The opioid epidemic gets increasingly worse year after year, as statistics demonstrate. When major pharmaceutical companies benefit from pushing these drugs on to the market, they put the lives of innocent people at risk. We’re not afraid to hold them accountable for what they’ve done. For a free consultation with our team of attorneys, contact us today.


Opioid Addiction

Opioid Crisis Fast Facts

2018 NSDUH Annual National Report

Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2017–2018

Peter Olszewski
Peter Olszewski

Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr., a shareholder and managing partner at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., brings 37 years of litigation experience. He is a renowned trial lawyer in Pennsylvania, specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury, and criminal defense. Peter's notable achievements include securing multi-million-dollar verdicts and serving as District Attorney and Judge. He is committed to community involvement and is actively engaged in various legal associations.
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