About this courseSkip About this course
On average, 130 Americans die every day from an overdose of opioids, the class of drugs that includes heroin, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl. Around 70% of all opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States — opioid addiction is driving this epidemic.
In this course, you'll learn about the origins and spread of this epidemic. Our experts will cover the appropriate ways this class of drugs should be used, but we will also explore the impact of opioid misuse on the individual, family, and community. You’ll hear about effective medical treatments for addiction and how to reduce the stigma that exists around addiction. You’ll learn how to help prevent overdose deaths and explore the multiple pathways to recovery.
Join us to confront this epidemic with a broad perspective of the causes, effects, and solutions to the opioid crisis. After learning about harm-reduction approaches and evidence-based interventions to prevent addiction and support recovery, you will be equipped to confront the opioid epidemic.
This course is available for Continuing Education credit. Enroll in the course to learn more about options for earning credit.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Medical and non-medical use of opioids, including heroin and fentanyl
- How to manage pain with and without opioids
- The risks and neurological pathways to opioid addiction
- That addiction is a disease of the brain, not a lack of will
- The multiple ways people can become addicted to opioids
- The individual and social impacts of opioid addiction
- The latest harm reduction approaches for law enforcement and public health officials
- Empathic evidence-based behavioral approaches and medications that health care professionals can offer those struggling with opioid addiction
- How has opioid misuse evolved and spread? Why is this a public health crisis in America?
- Are opioids "bad" drugs, or are there appropriate ways to use them?
- What counts as misuse and what can happen when you misuse opioids?
- How does opioid addiction affect an individual, their family, and the community?
- How can opioid overdose be treated and prevented?
- How can opioid misuse and addiction be treated?
- What does the process of long-term recovery from opioid addiction look like?
Meet your instructors
Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain$99 USD
Official and Verified
Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course
Support our Mission
EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally
Frequently asked questions
How is the honor code upheld?
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
How does my participation contribute to research?
By registering as an online learner in our open online courses, you are also participating in research intended to enhance HarvardX's instructional offerings as well as the quality of learning and related sciences worldwide. In the interest of research, you may be exposed to some variations in the course materials. HarvardX does not use learner data for any purpose beyond the University's stated missions of education and research. For purposes of research, we may share information we collect from online learning activities, including Personally Identifiable Information, with researchers beyond Harvard. However, your Personally Identifiable Information will only be shared as permitted by applicable law, will be limited to what is necessary to perform the research, and will be subject to an agreement to protect the data. We may also share with the public or third parties aggregated information that does not personally identify you. Similarly, any research findings will be reported at the aggregate level and will not expose your personal identity.
How are non-discrimination and anti-harassment supported?
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.