Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Winehouse, Cory Monteith, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger...... While many deaths may be due to misuse of illegal substances, these drugs are not always illicit, & an overdose may not always be intentional.
More than half of fatal drug overdoses in 2010 were caused by prescribed medication & prescription drug overdose deaths have quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. For 11 years in a row drug related deaths have INCREASED each year.
In 2010, about 40,000 people in the U.S died as a result of a drug overdose. 75% of prescription overdoses were due to medications such as OxyContin & Percocet; & 9,400 of prescription overdoses were due to unidentified drug cocktails; (cocktails refers to taking more than one type of prescription drug) 74% of prescription drug overdose deaths were ruled accidental; Benzodiazepines, which is a class of medications usually referred to as anti-anxiety drugs, were noted as a common cause of death in 30% of the prescription overdose deaths. Opioid medications & pain relievers such as Vicodin, contributed in some way to 75% of overdose fatalities. The number of prescription drug overdose deaths is higher than the combined total of overdose deaths due to HEROIN & COCAINE.
Cocktails of central nervous system depressants, such as opioid pain killers, sedatives, hypnotics, or alcohol may lead to an unintentional overdose due to severely depressed breathing.