Increase in fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics in the United States, 1999-2006

NCHS Data Brief. 2009 Sep;(22):1-8.


Data from the National Vital Statistics System Mortality File. From 1999 through 2006, the number of fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths. Opioid analgesics were involved in almost 40% of all poisoning deaths in 2006. In 2006, the rate of poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics was higher for males, persons aged 35-54 years, and non-Hispanic white persons than for females and those in other age and racial/ethnic groups. In about one-half of the deaths involving opioid analgesics, more than one type of drug was specified as contributing to the death, with benzodiazepines specified with opioid analgesics most frequently. The age-adjusted death rate for poisoning involving opioid analgesics varied more than eightfold among the states in 2006.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Poisoning / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid