Opioids & Substance Use

The AHRQ Academy provides information to support those who are implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder in primary care settings.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Opioid Initiative   

How HIPAA Allows Doctors To Respond to the Opioid Crisis This brief from the Office of Civil Rights explains how health care providers can share health information with patients’ family members during certain crisis situations without violating privacy regulations.

Strategies To Address the Opioid Epidemic This letter announces that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will take a new approach in working with States on section 1115(a) demonstrations, which give States additional flexibility to design and improve their programs for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Rx Awareness This video series from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention features individuals telling their personal stories to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse.

Rx Pain Medications: Know the Options, Get the Facts This fact sheet series from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration aims to raise awareness about the risks associated with prescription opioid use and misuse and to provide information about alternative pain management methods.

Tools & Resources

Implementing Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Primary Care: Environmental Scan This AHRQ report examines factors that may limit access to MAT for OUD in rural primary care settings. The report also includes links and descriptions to nearly 250 tools and resources to support the delivery of MAT in rural primary care settings.

Medicare Part D Opioid Prescribing Mapping Tool This interactive tool from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows geographic comparisons of deidentified Medicare Part D opioid prescription claims within the United States.

Stem the Tide: Addressing the Opioid Epidemic This toolkit from the American Hospital Association includes guidance and resources for hospitals and health systems to share with providers and patients about the opioid epidemic.

Research Findings

Comparative Effectiveness of Extended-Release Naltrexone Versus Buprenorphine-Naloxone for Opioid Relapse Prevention: A Multicentre, Open-Label, Randomised Controlled Trial This study in The Lancet finds that both extended-release naltrexone and sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone were equally safe and effective, but it was more difficult to initiate patients with extended-release naltrexone.

Service Use Preceding Opioid-Related Fatality This study in the American Journal of Psychiatry examines health service patterns of individuals who died of opioid-related causes and finds that they commonly used services related to behavioral health disorders in their last year of life yet often lacked formal opioid use disorder diagnoses near the time of death.

Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas—United States This study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the rate of drug overdose deaths in rural areas is increasing and has surpassed rates in urban areas. The CDC also wrote a blog, which discusses how rural communities have been effected by the opioid epidemic and how public health programs can prevent overdose deaths in rural America.


Public Workshop: Strategies for Promoting the Safe Use and Appropriate Prescribing of Prescription Opioids February 15, 2018, 9:00am - 4:15pm EST

Visit the events calendar to find webinars, conferences, and workshops related to opioid use disorder and substance use.


Deaths Involving Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analogs, and U-47700—10 States, July-December 2016 This report uses toxicologic and death scene evidence to characterize opioid overdose deaths and estimate those that involve synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.

The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis This report from the Council of Economic Advisers estimates the economic cost of deaths from drug overdoses involving opioids to be $504 billion in 2015, or 2.8 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product.


Explore archived opioids and substance use News and Resources from 2017.