Dec. 20, 2011 — The number of deaths from drug poisonings in the U.S. has increased sixfold since 1980.
In 2008, more than 41,000 people in the U.S. died from intentional and accidental poisonings. Nine out of 10 poisoning deaths were due to drugs.
In 2008, these deaths exceeded the number of deaths from automobile accidents in the U.S., making poisoning the leading cause of injury death in the country, according to a report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics that focused on the time period from 1980 to 2008.
Fully 40% of the deaths in 2008 involved the use of prescription opioid pain relievers such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone, the new report shows. This is up from 25% in 1999. The number of drug-related deaths involving opioids actually tripled from 1999 to 2008.2