The Facts

heroin_needle_spoonHEROIN ABUSE:

  • The vast majority of teens do not use heroin. In a 2018 national survey, only 0.4% of 12th graders used heroin in the past year.[1] 
  • 96.4 percent of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.[1]
  • About 165,000 young people between 18 to 25 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year.[2]

prescriptiondrugs_articlePRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE:

  • Prescription opioid analgesics, specifically those containing oxycodone and hydrocodone, are the most common types of prescription drugs that are diverted for misuse and abused.
  • Each day in the United States, over 192 people die as a result of a drug overdose.[3] 
  • In 2017, an estimated 3.2 million people (aged 12 or older) reported current misuse of pain relievers.[4]  
  • 53% of nonmedical users (12 years or older) reported receiving the prescription drugs they most recently used “from a friend or relative for free.”[5] 


  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
  • Drug deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (which includes fentanyl) increased almost 47% from 2016 to 2017.[6]



young heroin user

Learn More About the Science of Addiction

Explore common misconceptions about opioids through the voices of teens. Go to Operation Prevention.

1 Source: University of Michigan, 2018 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.

2 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018.  View source here.

3 Source: Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017. View source here.

4 Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018.  View source here.

5 Source: Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. View source here.

6 Source: “Fentanyl: Illicitly-made fentanyl use is on the rise." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. View source here.