Drug poisoning huge factor in U.S. deaths: report

Prescription painkillers are responsible for around 15,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits a year, killing more people than car accidents, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The growth in availability of these medications means more individuals are using leftover drugs for non-medical purposes, leading to a significant rise in unintentional overdoses, the report says.

Sales of prescription painkillers tripled from 1999 to 2010 — as did the number of fatal poisonings due to prescription pain medications, and enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult continually for a month, according to the report.

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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