Fatal drug overdoses have increased for the 11th consecutive year in the United States, new data show.
According to a research letter published Tuesday from the National Center for Health Statistics, 38,329 people died of drug overdoses in the United States in 2010, an uptick from the previous year and the latest sign of a deadly trend involving prescription painkillers.
In 2010, 57% of overdoses, or more than 22,000, involved known prescription drugs. Three-quarters of those involved painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet while another 9,400 involved some unidentified drug cocktail.
More than 74% of all prescription drug deaths were accidental, statistics show. Only 17% of overdoses were suicides. The numbers show how drugs in the opioid family, like Oxycontin, methadone and codeine, were often implicated in fatal drug cocktails.