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Be sure to watch “The Pharmacist,” a new Netflix documentary that offers great insight on why the opioid crisis has hit Americans so hard. Like most problems of huge dimensions, it’s complicated, really—but watching the effect on society informs viewers in a way that few articles can do. According to CDC statistics, here are some statistics on the toll that opioids take in the U.S as of the year 2017 (most recent stats available from the CDC):
- U.S. health care providers wrote more than 191 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication—a rate of 58.7 prescriptions per 100 people.
- Despite guidelines to limit opioids as a first approach to managing chronic pain, a study found that primary care clinicians write 45% of all U.S. opioid prescriptions.
- More than 11 million people misused prescription opioids.
- Prescription opioids were involved in more than 35% of all opioid overdose deaths: nearly 17,000.
- The U.S. saw 218,000 Americans die from overdoses related to prescription opioids.