Two recent studies suggest that rates of nonfatal overdoses involving prescription opioid analgesics, sedatives, and tranquillizers are high and increasing.
Concerns about fatal overdoses involving prescription drugs, particularly opioids, have grown in recent years with the emergence of data suggesting that such deaths are a serious and growing public health problem. As of 2005, unintentional poisoning was second only to motor vehicle crashes as a cause of unintentional death in the United States; among middle-aged persons aged 35 to 54 years, it was the leading cause of unintentional death, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kuehn BM. Alarming Nonfatal Overdose Rates Found for Opioids, Sedatives, and Tranquilizers. JAMA. 2010;303(20):2020-2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.641