October 21, 2019 / 11:16 AM / 2 months ago

Factbox: The U.S. opioid epidemic by the numbers

(Reuters) - Opioid deaths in the United States have soared over the last two decades, driving a wave of litigation against drugmakers and distributors.

FILE PHOTO: A bottle of prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. sit on a counter at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

The following is a look at the scale of the epidemic and the related legal battles. Numbers relating to opioid use, illnesses and deaths are based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

** Deaths linked to overdoses of opioids in U.S., including illegal drugs like heroin, from 1990 to 2017: nearly 400,000

** Number of those deaths linked to prescription opioids: about 218,000

** Average number of opioid overdose deaths in the United States per day: about 130

** Percentage of drug overdose deaths that involved an opioid in 2017: 67.8%

** Number of opioid prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. in 2017: 191,218,272

** Share of U.S. population that had at least one opioid prescription filled in 2017: 17.4 percent

** Lawsuits pending nationwide over opioids: approximately 2,600

** Lawsuits consolidated before U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, Ohio: approximately 2,300

** Value of largest single settlement in an opioid lawsuit: $270 million, between now-bankrupt OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its controlling Sackler family and the state of Oklahoma. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied wrongdoing.

** Number of opioid makers that have filed for bankruptcy: two

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Steve Orlofsky

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