In 2006, a total of 26,389 deaths from unintentional drug poisoning occurred in the United States, with the national age-adjusted death rate more than doubling since 1999, from 4.0 to 8.8 per 100,000 population.1 Opioid pain medications were involved in more than half of the drug poisoning deaths in 2006 in which a drug was specified.2
On March 18, 2010, CDC released an issue brief, Unintentional Drug Poisoning in the United States, summarizing the most recent information regarding deaths and emergency department visits resulting from drug overdoses. That brief includes information on overdose trends, the most common drugs involved, and the regions and populations most severely affected. Recommendations on how health-care providers, private insurance providers, and state and federal agencies can work to prevent unintentional drug overdoses also are included. The issue brief is available at http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/poisoning/activities.htm.
Additional educational resources regarding poisoning prevention are available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/poisoning/index.html and http://www.cdc.gov/features/medicinesafety. The national toll-free telephone number for poison-control centers is 1-800-222-1222.
Announcements: Release of Issue Brief: Unintentional Drug Poisoning in the United States. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1476. doi: