Drug poisoning was the second-leading cause of injury deaths in the United States for the second year in a row. This trend seems to be linked to a spike in deaths from the improper prescription and misuse of the medication, methadone.
Methadone, in its prescription form, has come to replace frequently abused drugs such as OxyContin for the treatment of chronic pain. However, doctors sometimes prescribe a dangerous dosage of methadone for their patients. Additionally, some patients do not understand that although methadone's painkilling effects subside, the drug remains in their bloodstream, and they take a fatal overdose.
For 40 years, car accidents and firearms were the leading causes of injury death in the country. A report published by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that death rates for automobile crashes and firearms have not changed, but methadone deaths are up from 786 in 1999 to 4,462 in 2000.