Almost any drug can become lethal poison when accidentally ingested or taken in amounts that exceed healthy limits. Another cause of unintentional poisoning is found when the elderly mistakenly take the wrong drug to treat a chronic condition. But, of all the accidental overdoses, opioids are causing the largest increase in accidental overdoses that lead directly to death.
Unintentional Drug Poisoning Stats in the US
According to the CDC, here are some realities of where and how unintentional drug poisoning is occurring in the U.S.
- The highest death rates from accidental overdoses are in the Appalachian region, West Virginia, and New Mexico\
- When it comes to opioid overdoses, California and New York are the lowest per capita
- In 2006, 17,740 drug overdose deaths occurred among men and 8,660 among females
- For both men and women, the highest overdose rates were in the 45-54 years old age group
- Among illegal drugs, heroin and cocaine are responsible for most unintentional drug poisoning
The Fight Against Overdose by Prescription Opioids
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids—a 2-fold increase in a decade. Concerned citizens and political representatives are mounting the fight against opioid overdose on several fronts. It is starting with holding big pharmaceutical companies responsible for deceptive marketing and turning a blind eye to neighborhood clinics that have increased orders of opioids. Some states are taking preventative actions with the start of programs that target the prevention of opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose.
Fentanyl – #1 Cause of Unintentional Poisoning by Illegal Drugs
In just over 3 years, the synthetic drug fentanyl has risen to become the number one cause of accidental, illegal drug overdose in America. Pharmaceutical grade fentanyl has been used for many years as a synthetic pain killer option. But, with today’s street drug distribution, most of the fentanyl that is laced into other drugs is being transported in from other countries. The potency and the purity is questionable and people may not have the right knowledge for mixing fentanyl with other drugs.