Butler Center for Research White Paper | October 2017 By Audrey Klein, PhD, MBA Executive Director, Butler Center for Research, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Reclarifying Important Terminology Now more than ever, the United States is experiencing a pressing need to address the opioid epidemic. Before discussing this and outlining what can and should be done to help people with opioid addiction, a clarification of terms is necessary. In talking about what is happening with opioids, the popular press and social media channels use many buzzwords, one of which is "opioid epidemic" itself. There are several facets to classifying this as an "epidemic" that are important to address: 1) the number of people who use heroin and/or fentanyl has dramatically increased over the last few years; 2) people's misuse of prescription opioids like hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin) has also greatly increased; 3) more people than ever are becoming addicted to opioids; and 4) an alarming number of people are dying from opioid overdoses (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2015; Rudd et al., 2016). The increasing trend in opioid overdose deaths is depicted in below.