Opioids, Prescription, Alternatives, Review


Substance Abuse and Addiction


Laura Hawk


The use of prescribed and illicit opioids in the United States is still a major contributing factor to overdose deaths nationwide. Two out of every three overdose deaths in 2018 were related to chronic opioid use (Division (DCD), 2018). Continual research has been conducted over the last decade in an attempt to reduce the negative impact that opioid analgesics have on public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated prescription guidelines, and in 2018 Congress addressed a proposal for a multi-step plan to reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder. This article addresses these policies, as well as other prescription strategies and alternative treatments used to combat the opioid crisis in the United States. In recent years, several states have observed a modest decline in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths, but most states have not experienced significant decline. Opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose statistics today are still triple what they were twenty years ago, so the implementation of improved prescription policies and increased use of opioid alternatives for pain management should be considered in reducing the impact of opioid misuse in the United States.