Opioid Use Disorder



Opioids are a class of medication that are commonly used for analgesia or pain relief with the concurrent potential for central nervous system depression and/or feelings of euphoria. The diagnosis of opioid use disorder (OUD) refers to the misuse of prescription opioids or use of illicit opioids, such as heroin that may result in self-harm including death. OUD is considered a chronic illness.


In 2018, an estimated 10,250,000 people reported opioid misuse (3.7% of population ≥12 years old).

  • 2,028,000 of those met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) criteria for a diagnosis of OUD (0.7% of population ≥12 years old) (1).

Risk Factors

  • Prior history of substance use disorder
  • More severe reported pain
  • Co-occurring mental disorders (2)

General Prevention

  • Opioid prescriptions have been reduced by 29% between 2006 and 2018, which reduces access to prescription opioids.
  • Harm reduction practices can prevent complications from OUD such as clean needle exchanges and safe injection sites.
  • Access to intranasal naloxone can prevent opioid-related deaths.

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Hepatitis A, B, C
  • HIV

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