Poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related mortality in the United States, with more than 40,000 deaths annually. Drugs account for 90% of poisoning deaths, and the number of deaths from drug poisoning has increased substantially in recent years. The emergency department (ED) plays an important role in the treatment of poisoning.
A new NCHS report describes nationally representative data on ED visits for drug poisoning during 2008–2011.
Key Findings from the Report:
- During 2008–2011, an average of 1.1 million emergency department (ED) visits were made each year for drug poisoning, with a visit rate of 35.4 per 10,000 persons.
- The ED visit rate for drug poisoning was highest among persons aged 20–34. The rate declined with age after 20–34, and rates for those aged 0–19 were similar to those aged 50 and over.
- Drug-poisoning ED visit rates did not differ by sex and age, with the exception of persons aged 35–49, where females had a higher visit rate than males. The ED visit rate for unintentional drug poisoning was higher than self-inflicted drug poisoning overall and for males, but did not differ for females.
- About one-quarter (24.5%) of drug-poisoning ED visits resulted in hospital admission.
The number of emergency room visits for drug poisoning is alarming! I had no idea that it was so high. I will have to me a little more of what my kids are doing when they are out with their friends. I’ve never really thought to ask, because they are such good kids. It might be worth it to have a short chat with them though.