Real Stories from Real People: Overcoming Addiction

Help prevent overdoses by sharing real stories from real people whose lives have been impacted by the opioid crisis and have overcome their opioid addiction.

Real Stories from Real People: Overcoming Addiction

CDC’s Rx Awareness campaign tells the stories of people whose lives were impacted by prescription opioids. Prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous, but help is available, and recovery is possible.

In 2019, CDC captured more real stories to add to the Rx Awareness campaign originally launched in 2017. The new messages and ads focus on recovery. The messages are targeted to audiences that have special considerations, such as pregnant women. The ads and messages also focus on people heavily impacted by the opioid overdose epidemic, including veterans, younger adults (25-to-34-year-olds), older adults (45-to-54-year-olds), and American Indians/Alaska Natives.

Across this nation, we have seen an alarming rise in drug overdose deaths. Overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids were nearly 6 times higher in 2018 than 1999. Personal stories of addiction and recovery can inspire us all and fuel new commitments to helping end this devastating public health crisis. The current COVID-19 pandemic in the United States introduces new risks to Americans impacted by opioid use disorder, as well as a series of new challenges related to treatment and recovery.

Addressing the Problem

More than 232,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids from 1999–2018. While the overdose death rates involving prescription opioids decreased by 13.5% from 2017 to 2018, work remains to prevent more overdose deaths. CDC helps educate consumers about the risks of prescription opioid misuse and the importance of discussing safer and more effective pain management with their healthcare providers.

CDC also raises awareness of risks associated with misuse of prescription opioids, factors that increase overdose risks (such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl in the local drug supply, polysubstance overdoses, and emerging drug threats), and approaches to reduce those risks.

Everyone Can Help Stop Prescription Opioid Overdoses

As a member of your community, you have a role to play in preventing opioid overdose:

  1. Get informed about prescription opioids so you can help people who are at risk for opioid use disorder and overdose in your community.
  2. Help those struggling with opioid use disorder find the right care and treatment. There is hope. Recovery is possible. Good places to start are
  3. Learn about the Rx Awareness campaign and share stories of people whose lives have been impacted by prescription opioids:

Britton, a United States veteran, struggled with prescription opioids following an injury and shares his path to recovery. Learn more about Britton’s story.


Tele misused prescription opioids beginning at age 13 and shares the impact of opioid misuse on his life and recovery.  Get to know Tele.


Tessa took prescription opioids while pregnant. Her children led her to recovery. Get to know Tessa.

More Information

Learn what resources and information are available for you:

Related Features
Related Pages
Access the latest guideline, data, and resources