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Drug Poisoning Causes More Deaths Than Traffic Accidents

October 1, 2009

Poisoning deaths involving methadone in the US have increased nearly sevenfold in less than a decade, according to a new report from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.

In the CDC’s report on fatal poisonings, researchers noted that poisoning is the second leading cause of injury related death, and the leading cause of injury death among people aged 35-54.

In the 35-54 age group, poisoning resulted in more deaths than both firearms and motor-vehicle injuries, according to the report.

The study found that from 1999 through 2006, the number of fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics (methadone, Oxycontin and Vicodin) more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths. What’s more, opioid analgesics were involved in nearly 40 percent of all poisoning deaths in 2006 alone, compared to about 20 percent in 1999.

Researchers said that drug poisonings make up the largest percentage of overall poisoning deaths in the US.

They noted that death records for about one-fifth of poisoning deaths was due to drugs, although the reports did not identify which substance was to blame.

In some states, drug poisoning has replaced car accidents as the No. 1 cause of injury related death.

“People see a car accident as something that might happen to them,” Margaret Warner of the CDC told the Associated Press. However, when they think of drug overdoses, “maybe they see it as something that’s not going happen to them.”

Drug related deaths have become stronger than traffic accidents in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, according to the report.

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