Accidental Poisoning (Unintentional Poisoning)

Almost each and every day in USA, about 87 people die due to accidental poisoning and another 2000 get treated in emergency rooms.

Accidental Poisoning (Unintentional Poisoning)

  • In 2009, about 31,758 which constitutes to about 76% of a total of 41,592 poisoning deaths in USA were accidental and about 8% were of undetermined intent. Accidental poisoning deaths have been on a gradual rise since 1992.
  • Accidental poisoning was the next to come after motor vehicle accidents as a cause of unintentional death among all ages in 2009. Of people between 25 and 65 years of age, accidental poisoning was the cause of more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
  • In 2010, accidental poisoning was the cause of about 831,295 emergency room presentations.
  • About 25% of these emergency room visits resulted in hospitalization or transfer to another facility.
  • In 2010, Poison Control Centers estimated receiving about 2.4 million calls related to human poison exposure cases.
  • Between 2004 and 2005, approximately 71,000 teenagers below the age of 18 presented to emergency rooms due to medication poisonings. This did not include abuse and recreational drug use.
  • About 80% of these cases were of children finding and consuming medications in an unsupervised way.
  • Most common drug found to cause were prescription pain medications to include medications like methadone, hydrocodone, oxycodone etc. followed by abuse of cocaine and heroin.
  • Among the people treated in the emergency rooms for nonfatal poisonings whch involved use of prescription medications in 2009, opioid pain medications and benzodiazepines were the medications used most often. By nonmedical use, we mean misuse, abuse or not taking the medication as directed.
  • In children, emergency room visits for medication poisoning, not to include misuse or abuse, are twice the number of poisoning from other household products like cleaning solutions etc.

Cost: In 2005, poisoning led to approximately $33.4 billion in medical and productivity cost.

Groups at Risk for Poisoning

Among Those Who Succumbed From Unintentional Poisoning In 2009 :

  • Males were nearly twice more than females who died.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives had a high death rate, which were then followed by Whites and then African-American population.
  • The highest mortality rates were found in people between the ages of 45 and 49.
  • The lowest mortality rates were found in children below 15 years of age as they tend to not misuse drugs as adults.

People Who Unintentionally Got Poisoned And Sought Treatment In Emergency Rooms In 2010 :

  • The presentation of males in emergency rooms for such cases was about 1.6 times more than females.
  • The age group making such visits to the emergency room were between 45 and 49.
  • Among children, emergency room visits for medication poisoning was found to be quite common in children below 6 years of age.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: June 9, 2014

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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