Research conducted by the Los Angeles Times found that more people died from overdosing on drugs than from auto traffic accidents in the United States.
In 2009, the newspaper found 37,485 deaths that listed drugs as the cause of death, higher than the 36,284 deaths from motor vehicle accidents in the same year.
Between the year 2000 and 2008, the deaths attributed to overdosing on prescription anti-anxiety drugs increased by 284 percent. Deaths from prescription pain killers increased by 256 percent, cocaine deaths increased by 68 percent, and heroin deaths increased by 56 percent during that same time period in the United States.
Source: Lisa Girion, Scott Glover and Doug Smith, “Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show,” Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2011.