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The Opioid Epidemic


The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic has claimed more American lives in the 21st century than did World War II. In addition to this terrible loss of life, millions of Americans are addicted to opioids, damaging their health, their families, and their communities. SNAP’s opioid epidemic initiative is disseminating evidence-informed policies that promote safer opioid prescribing, better health care, and stronger recovery support for addicted individuals.

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Scope of the Problem: Beginning in the 1990s, aggressive promotion by opioid manufacturers caused U.S. prescribing to nearly quadruple, addicting millions of Americans. More recently, a class of extremely potent, synthetic opioids known as fentanyls have infiltrated the heroin supply in multiple regions of the U.S. and Canada, accelerating opioid-related deaths even further. Fentanyls are also increasingly present in non-opioid drugs (e.g.,... Read more