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More than 2 million Americans were addicted to prescription pain relievers or heroin as of 2015, classes of drugs together known as opioids. Between 1999 and 2015 nearly 200,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids alone.

Pharmacotherapy is defined as the use of medications for the treatment of a medical condition. Pharmacotherapies for treating opioid addiction include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Alcoholism is a health problem that has developed to the point of requiring extensive methods to address it.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, alcohol addiction is currently the most prevalent substance addiction problem in the U.S..  This is because there are more alcohol addicts than drug addicts, per the study reports of the NSDUH.  As addictive as alcohol is and as readily available as it is (more available than any drug) a pharmacological approach to treating it has become a mainstay in alcohol addiction rehabilitation.