West Virginia University Logo

Unintentional Drug Overdoses and Poisonings

Unintentional poisonings include adverse health outcomes caused by the nonintentional ingestion or inhalation of household or industrial chemical products, or by exposure to natural toxins such as poison ivy and snake venom. However, this category of unintentional injury also includes fatal and nonfatal drug-related poisonings, or overdoses. In particular, prescription painkiller overdose deaths have been on a steep rise in the United States for more than a decade, and show no signs of abating. The rise of overdose deaths attributed to prescription opioids in the US has been called an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription drug overdose is largely responsible for the sharp increase in fatal and nonfatal unintentional poisonings.

Unintentional poisonings has caused an increase in the injury morbidity and mortality in West Virginia.  The majority of this increase has been attributed to deaths associated with prescription opioid analgesics and other controlled substances.  The WVU ICRC is specifically addressing this topic through ongoing and proposed research, our participation in relevant state task forces and community outreach, and our proposed development of a new interdisciplinary graduate-level course on the topic of prescription drug abuse.

List of Related ICRC Affiliate Faculty Publications

Visit the Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv Archive.

Access WVU ICRC report: Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs with Take-home Naloxone in West Virginia and Central Appalachia.