Opioid analgesic involvement in drug abuse deaths in American metropolitan areas

Am J Public Health. 2006 Oct;96(10):1755-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.071647.


I measured the role of opioid analgesics in drug abuse-related deaths in a consistent panel of 28 metropolitan areas from the Drug Abuse Warning Network. The number of reports of opioid analgesics increased 96.6% from 1997 to 2002; methadone, oxycodone, and unspecified opioid analgesics accounted for 74.3% of the increase. Oxycodone reports increased 727.8% (from 72 to 596 reports). By 2002, opioid analgesics were noted more frequently than were heroin or cocaine. Dramatic increases in the availability of such opioids have made their abuse a major, growing problem.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / toxicity*
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Humans
  • Methadone / toxicity
  • Oxycodone / toxicity
  • Substance-Related Disorders / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Cocaine
  • Methadone