What Is Alabama Doing to Fight the Opioid Crisis?

The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Alabama and across the country has become a full-blown crisis. In 2016 alone, 341 people in Alabama died from overdoses related to opioids, including heroin, prescription opioids and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Many health experts believe that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as buprenorphine plays a key role in addressing this crisis.

Fortunately, statistics show that Alabama is doing more than most other states to give people with opioid addiction access to this potentially life-saving treatment.

What do we know about the opioid crisis?


21 to 29%

Of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.

8 and 12%

Develop an opioid use disorder
An Estimated

4 to 6%

Who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin


Of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids
Source: Drug/Abuse.gov

Number of Opioid-Related
Overdose Deaths in Alabama

Alabama Opioid Statistics


30,000 Alabama residents 17 and over are dependent upon heroin and prescription painkillers


282 people died overdosing in Alabama during 2015


Alabama's drug overdose rate rose by 82% from 2006-2014


From 2012 - 2014 88 people died of drug overdoses in Tuscaloosa County

Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them

Source: DrugAbuse.gov
opioid overdose


Opioid Policies

Several policies can mitigate the impact of increased opioid use. These include legislation permitting the operation of syringe exchange programs and the availability of naloxone by standing order. In addition, states experiencing, or at an elevated risk of, experiencing HIV or hepatitis outbreaks may use federal DHHS funds to support syringe service programs. In order to be eligible to do so, state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments must consult with CDC and provide evidence demonstrating risk. Source: http://opioid.amfar.org/AL

  • syringe Syringe Exchange Programs
    are Not Legal (2017)
  • prescribers Prescribers are Not Required
    to Check PDMP (2016)
  • cdc Jurisdictions have Not Completed
    CDC Consultation (2018)