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Medical News & Perspectives
January 18, 2012

Poisonings Top Crashes for Injury-Related Deaths

JAMA. 2012;307(3):242. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1998

Deaths caused by poisoning outnumbered deaths related to motor vehicle traffic in 2008—for the first time in at least 3 decades, according to a December report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

While the rate of injury-related deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes fell by half between 1980 and 2008 (from 22.9 per 100 000 population to 12.5 per 100 000 population), the poisoning rate has tripled (from 4.8 per 100 000 population to 13.5 per 100 000 population), according to the report. There were 41 000 poisoning deaths in 2008, 9 out of 10 of which were caused by medications or illicit drugs.