Drug poisoning (or drug overdose) can happen when a person takes more than the medically recommended dose of a drug, or when a person takes more of a drug than can be broken down in the body before unintended side effects happen. Overdoses can be planned (example: suicide or an assault) or accidental and can happen when drugs are legally or illegally taken. The amount of drug that can cause an overdose depends on the drug. For example, fentanyl, a drug for pain, is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. A very small amount of fentanyl can lead to overdose compared to other drugs. Deaths from drug poisoning have been identified as a serious public health concern in recent years.
Historically, the number of Michigan drug overdose deaths has been much lower than deadly traffic crashes. The number of Michigan drug overdose deaths became greater than the number of deadly traffic crashes in 2006. Every year, the gap between the two has grown. Among Michigan residents, the number of drug overdose deaths increased five times from 1999 to 2016. The 2016 number of opioid deaths is 17 times higher than the 1999 number.
Number of deaths, crude rates of deaths per 100,000 population, and age-adjusted rates of deaths per 100,000 population due to drug poisoning are available on the MiTracking data portal.