"The number of unintentional poisoning deaths increased from 12,186 in 1999 to 20,950 in 2004. The annual age-adjusted rate increased 62.5%, from 4.4 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 7.1 in 2004. The increase among females, from 2.3 to 4.7 per 100,000 population (103.0%), was twice the increase among males, from 6.5 to 9.5 per 100,000 population (47.1%) (Table 1). Among males, rates among whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders all increased approximately 50%. Rates among black males were highest in 1999 but did not increase. Among females, rates among whites more than doubled, whereas nonwhites had smaller increases or decreased. Overall, rates increased 75.8% among whites, 55.8% among American Indians/Alaska Natives, 27.4% among Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 11.2% among blacks. Rates among non-Hispanics increased more than rates among Hispanics for both sexes. Among all sex and racial/ethnic groups, the largest increase (136.5%) was among non-Hispanic white females. Among all age groups, the largest increase occurred among persons aged 15--24 years (113.3%). In 2004, the highest rates were among persons aged 35--54 years, who accounted for 59.6% of all poisoning deaths that year.

"From 1999 to 2004, rates increased by less than one third in the Northeast and West but more than doubled in the South and nearly doubled in the Midwest.† Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island had decreases in rates, and California had the smallest increase (4.0%) (Figure). States with the largest relative increases were West Virginia (550%), Oklahoma (226%), Maine (210%), Montana (195%), and Arkansas (195%). Increases of 100% or more occurred in 23 states: 11.8% (two of 17) of states§ in the most urban tertile, 41.2% (seven of 17) of those in the middle tertile, and 82.4% (14 of 17) of those in the most rural tertile (extended Mantel-Haenszel chi-square for linear trend across the tertiles = 15.4, p<0.001).

"The increase in poisoning mortality occurred almost exclusively among persons whose deaths were coded as unintentional drug poisoning (X40--X44), for which the rate increased 68.3% (Table 2). The rate for poisoning deaths attributed to other substances (X45--X49) increased 1.3%. By 2004, drug poisoning accounted for 19,838 deaths, 94.7% of all unintentional poisoning deaths. Among types of drug poisoning, the greatest increases were in the "other and unspecified" drug, psychotherapeutic drug, and "narcotic and hallucinogen" drug categories."


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2007). Unintentional poisoning deaths--United States, 1999-2004. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 56(5), 93–96.