- Drug overdose deaths more than tripled from 1999 to 2014.
- In 2015, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses, and approximately 63% of those deaths involved an opioid.
- The primary federal agency involved in drug enforcement, including diversion control efforts for prescription opioids, is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- The primary agency supporting drug treatment and prevention is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; P.L. 114-198) was enacted in the summer of 2016 and aimed to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States.
- The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act; P.L. 114-255) — a broader law that authorized new funding for medical research and amended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug approval process — authorized additional funding to combat opioid addiction.
- Congress also provided funds to specifically address opioid abuse in FY2017 appropriations.
- Source: Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service:
Background Reports and Resources
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Understanding the Epidemic
- CRS: The Opioid Epidemic and Federal Efforts to Address It Oct 2017
- GAO: OPIOID USE DISORDERS — HHS Needs Measures to Assess the Effectiveness of Efforts to Expand Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment
- GAO: OPIOID ADDICTION: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Medication-Assisted Treatment Access
- CRS: Prescription Drug Abuse Feb 2016
- CDC: Emergency Department Visits Involving Opioid Overdoses in the United States, 2010-2014