Drugs—both legal and illegal—cause majority of poisoning deaths. Misuse or abuse of prescription drugs, including opioid analgesic pain relievers
is responsible for much of the increase in drug poisoning deaths. Poisoning mortality increased during the 2010 tracking period per a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. •Poisoning is the leading cause of death from injury in 30 states In 2008: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin In 43 states over 80% of poisoning deaths were caused by drugs.
In addition to an increase in the number of deaths caused by drug poisoning, increases in drug use, abuse, misuse, and nonfatal health outcomes have been observed. In the past two decades, there has been an increase in the distribution and medical use of prescription drugs, including opioid analgesics. From 1999 to 2008, the use of prescription medications increased . In 2007–2008, 48% of Americans used at least one prescription drug in the past month and 11% of Americans used five or more prescriptions in the past month. Analgesics for pain relief were among the common drugs taken by adults aged 20–59 years . In 2009–2010, over 5 million Americans reported using prescription pain relievers nonmedically in the past month (that is, without a doctor’s prescription or only for the experience or feeling they caused), and the majority of people using prescription pain relievers nonmedically reported getting the drugs from friends or family . From 2004 to 2008, the estimated rate of emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid analgesics doubled from 49 per 100,000 to 101 per 100,000 .
Opioid analgesics were involved in more than 40% of drug poisoning deaths in 2008.Natural and semi-synthetic opioid analgesics such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone were involved in over 9,100 drug poisoning deaths in 2008, up from about 2,700 in 1999. Of the 14,800 drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics in 2008, the majority involved natural and semi-synthetic opioid analgesics such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.In 2008, the drug poisoning death rate was higher among those aged 45–54 years than among those in other age groups.