The Facts

image of pills, needle, spoon


  • 1 in 5 high school seniors know how to get heroin easily.
  • The vast majority of teens do not use heroin. In a 2016 national survey, only 0.3% of 12th graders used heroin in the past year.[1] 
  • 95.5 percent of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.[1]
  • About 152,000 young people between 18 to 25 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year.[2]


  • 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 174 people die as a result of a drug overdose.[3] 
  • In 2016, an estimated 3.3 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.
  • ​The death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, jumped by 72.2% from 2014 to 2015.[6]
  • During 2016 alone there were almost 29,000 reports of fentanyl (up from 1,041 reports in 2013).[6] 


1 Source: University of Michigan, 2016 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.

2 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2016.  View source here.

3 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2016 . View source here.

4 Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2017.  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: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis.” Statement from Louis J. Milione Assistant Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration. March 21, 2017.