Drug-related deaths have outpaced those caused by motor vehicle accidents in a growing number of states, and there has been a massive uptick in the number of fatalities caused by opioid analgesics such as OxyContin, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in a a new report released Wednesday. The agency found that from 1999 through 2006, the number of fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths. Although car crashes still kill more people nationwide, the rate of drug-induced deaths outpaced vehicle accidents in 16 states in 2006, up from about a dozen states the year before and eight in 2003. According to the CDC, while the importance of opioid analgesics in the management of pain is unquestionable, “increasing opioid analgesic-related poisoning deaths pose a serious public health risk.”
Looks like the official statistics are finally starting to catch up to the reality.