Centers for Disease Control: Pharmaceuticals Kill More People Than Illegal Drugs


Recent data has revealed that prescription drugs kill more people in the U.S. than all illicit street drugs combined.

According to the CDC, overdoses on pharmaceutical drugs were responsible for 22,767 deaths in 2013. This was more than half all drug overdose deaths combined, including well-known killers such as heroin and cocaine. What’s more is that drug overdoses passed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death by injury that year, and most of them were young people between the ages of 25 and 54.

Many recent studies, such as this one published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, have revealed that prescription drug abuse is having a profound effect on America’s young people. The CDC called it an ‘epidemic.’


The authors of this particular study – Richard Netemeyer of University of Virginia, Scot Burton of University of Arkansas, Barbara Delaney of the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, and Gina Hijjawi of American Institutes for Research – asked 1000 teenagers about their usage of several drugs, including alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, and tobacco.

They concluded a few main points: One was that anxiety and stress lead to pharmaceutical abuse. Two was that prescription drug abuse increases when alcohol is also abused. Thirdly, prescription drug abuse was more prevalent among teens who abused illegal drugs. Lastly, the desire to be popular, or pressure to be a ‘good kid’ was heavily correlated with the use of pharmaceutical drugs.


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