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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
April 21, 2010

Announcements: Release of Issue Brief: Unintentional Drug Poisoning in the United States

JAMA. 2010;303(15):1476. doi:

MMWR. 2010;59:300

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

Additional educational resources regarding poisoning prevention are available from CDC at and The national toll-free telephone number for poison-control centers is 1-800-222-1222.

CDC.  Compressed mortality file, 1999-2006. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2009. Available at Accessed March 15, 2010
Warner M, Chen LH, Makuc DM. Increase in fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics in the United States, 1999-2006. NCHS Data Brief 2009(22). Available at Accessed March 15, 2010