Increase in poisoning deaths caused by non-illicit drugs--Utah, 1991-2003

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Jan 21;54(2):33-6.


Deaths caused by drug poisoning of unintentional and undetermined intent are an increasing problem in Utah and elsewhere in the United States. To characterize the trend in drug-poisoning deaths in Utah, CDC and the Utah Department of Health analyzed medical examiner (ME) data for 1991-1998 and 1999-2003. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which determined that, during 1991-2003, the number of Utah residents dying from all drug poisoning increased nearly fivefold, from 79 deaths in 1991 (rate: 4.4 per 100,000 population) to 391 deaths in 2003 (rate: 16.6). This increase has been largely the result of the tripling of the rate (from 1.5 during 1991-1998 to 4.4 during 1999-2003) in poisoning deaths of unintentional or undetermined intent caused by non-illicit drugs (i.e., medications that can be legally prescribed). Further study is needed to understand these trends and to develop strategies to prevent deaths of unintentional or undetermined intent from non-illicit drug poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / poisoning
  • Drug Overdose / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / poisoning
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcotics / poisoning
  • Poisoning / mortality*
  • Utah / epidemiology


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Narcotics
  • Methadone