Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

About This Episode


In 2013, health care providers wrote nearly a quarter of a billion opioid prescriptions. That is enough for every adult American to have their own bottle of pain pills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day approximately 91 people in the United States die from opioid overdose.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic reveals the tragic impact of the overuse of prescription painkillers on individuals, families and communities. They are stories that often begin with medical treatment for moderate to severe pain that evolve into drug addiction and death.

The documentary also explores the dramatic increase in the use and acceptance of prescription painkillers, and addresses possible solutions to the opioid epidemic including more non-drug treatment for pain, improved prescribing, and reducing the amounts produced and prescribed in America. The best solution is preventing people from becoming addicted but there is also a critical need for more and better treatment of those already addicted to opioids.