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The Opioid Epidemic in the United States

Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 17 February 2016, Available online 17 February 2016

There is an epidemic of opioid abuse. This article discusses the history of opioid use. Abusers of opioids are at great risk of harm. There have been increasing legislative efforts to curb this abuse and we present a review of the current state of these laws. Naloxone has made a profound impact in the care of these patients if they present for medical care early enough. This paper discusses naloxone pharmacodynamics, its use in the medical setting, and how its use is now being expanded to include nontraditional providers with take home naloxone programs.

Keywords: Opioids, Opioid epidemic, Heroin, Prescription drugs, Overdose, Legal liability.


Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 110 South Paca Street, 6th Floor, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Corresponding author.

Disclosures: None.