Open Access

Public health strategies to combat opioid crisis in the United States


Background: The opioid epidemic in the United States is a national public health crisis. Driven by an increase in availability of pharmaceutical opioids and by an increase in their consumption, specifically, for pain treatment, more so in the past twenty years, it has led to an economic cost of prescription opioid abuse, overdose, and dependence in the United States estimated to be 78.5 billion USD. Methods: A thorough evaluation of the relevant extracted literature has been used to answer the question of the most effective ways to regulate health markets to decrease the opioid crisis in the United States, using keywords and phrases such as opioid epidemic in the US, prescription drug abuse, prescription medication abuse in US, medication misuse, cost-effective ways to health market regulation, drug monitoring programs, prescriber continuing education, provider continuing education, and pain management optimization. Results: Overcoming this epidemic nationwide requires improvement in patient utilization of and access to safe and effective treatment options for opioid abuse and overdose, addressing the stigma correlated with opioid use, considering appropriate use of abuse deterrent formulations (ADF) along with patient education, and improving prescribing practices via utilization of drug monitoring programs, CDC opioid prescribing guidelines and provider continuing education. Conclusion: Utilizing and implementing the aforementioned steps has shown to be a challenge. Further and repeated attempts are needed, while at the same time considering possible new steps that could help reinforce their utilization further.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Clinical Chemistry, Pharmacy, other