The CDC reports that The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.
Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
CDC looks at four categories of opioids:
- Natural opioid analgesics, including morphine and codeine, and semi-synthetic opioid analgesics, including drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone;
- Methadone, a synthetic opioid;
- Synthetic opioid analgesics other than methadone, including drugs such as tramadol and fentanyl; and
- Heroin, an illicit (illegally-made) opioid synthesized from morphine that can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance.