A seriously underrecognized and misunderstood public health issue is unintentional prescription drug poisoning, which is commonly referred to as overdose. In 2011, 1,140 North Carolina residents died as a result of unintentional poisonings; approximately 80% of those deaths were related to prescription drugs--predominantely painkillers such as methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Since 1999, the number of deaths (279) from unintentional poisonings has increased more than 300% in North Carolina.
Unintentional poisonings are a prevention priority under North Carolina's Statewide Plan for Preventing Injuries and Violence. The unintentional poisoning goal team was formed under the direction of the plan. The team coordinates prevention efforts across the state.
Because of the complexity of the issue, multiple partners are involved in prevention. Review the overview of the roles of partners working to prevent overdose.
N.C. Partners in Preventing Deaths from Unintentional Poisonings:
National Partners in Preventing Deaths from Unintentional Poisonings:
Reports and Resources:
Anyone who suspects they or someone else may have been poisoned should call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a local expert.
For tips about preventing poisonings, please visit our unintentional poisoning prevention page.