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U.S. Poisoning Deaths Nearly Double Since 1999

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Drugs played a major role in the near doubling of poisoning fatalities in the United States between 1999 and 2006, according to a U.S. government report.

During that time, poisoning death increased from almost 20,000 to more than 37,000, said the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2006, more than 90 percent of poisoning deaths involved drugs, United Press International reported.

Opioid analgesics were involved in about 20 percent of poisoning deaths in 1999 and almost 40 percent in 2006. Methadone-related poisoning deaths increased nearly seven-fold, from 790 in 1999 to 5,420 in 2006. That rate of increase is far greater than for other opioid analgesics, cocaine, or heroin.

The government report said poisoning is the second leading cause of injury death overall in the United States, and the leading cause of injury death for people ages 35 to 64, UPI reported.

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