Opioids & Substance Use

The AHRQ Academy provides information to support those who are implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder in primary care settings.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Opioid Initiative   

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose 

The Office of the Surgeon General released a public health advisory emphasizing the importance of naloxone and its ability to save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

AHRQ Data Show Impact of Opioid Crisis at County Level

The AHRQ Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project now provides county-level data of hospitalization rates for substance use, including opioids.

Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

The National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a data visualization of provisional counts for drug overdose deaths.

Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants

This guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides clinical guidance on the management of pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder.

Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

This fact sheet from SAMHSA provides guidance for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment, including the steps needed to access care and the signs of quality treatment centers.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Proposes Changes to Medicare Part D To Address Opioids

CMS announced their plans to develop new policies to address opioid overuse by Medicare Part D enrollees and to improve patient-doctor-plan communication regarding opioid use.

Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine, and Psychostimulants — United States, 2015–2016

CDC reports that 63,632 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, of which approximately two-thirds (66.4 percent) were related to opioids.

Rural Communities Opioid Response Funding Opportunity

In fiscal year 2018, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) plans to award grants to rural communities to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response (Planning) (RCORP) initiative.

Secretary Azar Announces Appointments To Advance Department Priorities

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the appointment of Brett Giroir to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Delivers Remarks at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit

In a speech, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb advocated for “more rational prescribing” of opioids and described several steps to be taken to address the need for education, a uniform system of electronic prescriptions, and enforcement of laws to prevent the distribution and sale of illegal opioids over the Internet.

Pathways to Safer Opioid Use

This training from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion aims to teach clinicians and public health professionals about the appropriate, safe, and effective use of opioids to manage chronic pain using recommendations from the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention.

Tools & Resources

All for One and One for All: Developing Coordinated State Opioid Strategies

This issue brief from the Milbank Memorial Fund describes lessons learned by State officials about coordinating law enforcement, public health agencies, and Medicaid to address the opioid epidemic.

When Are Prescribers Required to Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs?

This data visualization from the Pew Charitable Trusts compares State laws and regulations related to mandates that require prescribers to use prescription drug monitoring programs.

Primer on Opioids

This issue brief from the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors provides an overview of opioids, including the treatment of opioid use disorder. 

Opioid Misuse in Rural America

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new web page to provide resources, information, and best practices to help address the opioid crisis in rural communities.

The Opioid Epidemic and Socioeconomic Disadvantage

This issue brief from the Institute for Research on Poverty of the University of Wisconsin—Madison discusses how the opioid epidemic and social and economic disadvantage are intertwined.

Research Findings

Trends in Emergency Department Visits for Suspected Opioid Overdoses — United States, July 2016–September 2017

This article in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes the overall increase in rates of opioid-involved overdoses as well as trends by region.

Emergency Department Contribution to the Prescription Opioid Epidemic

This article in Annals of Emergency Medicine finds that the relative contribution of emergency departments to opioid prescribing declined during the study period, while prescribing in office-based settings is responsible for most of the growth in opioid prescriptions.

Corrected U.S. Opioid-Involved Drug Poisoning Deaths and Mortality Rates, 1999–2015
This analysis in Addiction reports corrected national estimates of opioid-involved mortality as death certificates may underestimate the prevalence of and changes over time in opioid-related deaths.

Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Access to Opioid Analgesic Medications and Medication Assisted Treatment

This article in the American Journal of Public Health notes no statistical difference in opioid prescribing between States that did and did not expand Medicaid; however, prescriptions of buprenorphine and naltrexone increased significantly within States that expanded Medicaid eligibility.


Visit the events calendar to find webinars, conferences, and workshops related to opioid use disorder and substance use.


Interdisciplinary Care Effective for Opioid Use Disorder

A feature article in the Annals of Family Medicine examines an innovative treatment model for opioid use disorder in primary care.

Telepsychiatry: an Innovative Approach to Addressing the Opioid Crisis

This article in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research recommends the inclusion of telepsychiatry into any strategy developed to address the opioid epidemic.


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