The Facts


  • There was a 400 percent increase in drug overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015.[1] 
  • Over 9 percent of Utah teens surveyed admitted to misusing a prescription painkiller one or more times during their life.[2] 
  • 24 people die every month from prescription drug overdose in Utah.[1]


  • 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.[3] 
  • 96.4% of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.[3]
  • In 2016, over 600,000 people (12 or older) reported having a heroin use disorder.[4]

teen holding a pillPRESCRIPTION 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.[5] 
  • In 2017, an estimated 3.2 million people (aged 12 or older) reported past month misuse of opioid 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.”[6] 


  • 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.[7]
  • During 2016 alone there were almost 29,000 reports of fentanyl (up from 1,041 reports in 2013).[8] 


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: Utah Department of Health’s Violence & Injury Prevention Program. View source here.

2 Source: Utah, High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017. View source here.

3 Source: University of Michigan, 2017 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.

4Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2017.  View source here.

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

Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2016.  View source here.

7 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.

8 Source: “Fentanyl: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis.” Statement from Louis J. Milione Assistant Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration. March 21, 2017.