By the Numbers - 10 July 2017

By the Numbers - 10 July 2017

By the Numbers Graphic


According to the CDC, the amount of opioids prescribed per person in the U.S. was three times higher in 2015 compared to 1999.

The CDC found that opioid prescribing in the U.S. is inconsistent. "Providers in the highest prescribing counties prescribed 6 times more opioids per person than the lowest prescribing counties in 2015." Characteristics of the highest prescribing geographic areas include:

  • Small cities or large towns
  • Higher percent of white residents
  • More dentists and primary care physicians
  • More people who are uninsured or unemployed
  • More people who have diabetes, arthritis, or disability

Because they suffer more injuries than the civilian population, military personnel and Veterans have been prescribed opioids at a much greater rate. As a PBS Frontline investigation last year pointed out:

Veterans face a double-edged threat: Untreated chronic pain can increase the risk of suicide, but poorly managed opioid regimens can also be fatal. Veterans are twice as likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses than non-veterans, according to a 2011 study of the VA system.

U.S. Map detailing the amount of opiods prescribed per person in 2015