The Opioid Crisis

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  • Source:  Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service:
  • 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.

Background Reports and Resources