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April 28, 2018 – The devastating opioid epidemic is one of the largest public health problems facing the U.S. Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from opioid use disorder. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers. A 2015 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found people who are addicted to painkillers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. The epidemic actually began more than three decades ago. In 1980, crack and cocaine addiction contributed to the thousands of overdose deaths, whereas now people die from pain relievers and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

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