The Ten Most Dangerous Drugs in America

Automobile accidents are no longer the most common cause of accidental death in the U.S. That distinction now belongs to legally prescribed drugs, both prescription and over the counter.

A number of drugs on the list of horrors are used for pain control by those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

We’re used to thinking that drug deaths are caused by back alley deals in smack, crystal meth or other illegal substances, but not true. The real killers are the ones prescribed legally by doctors, “… approved by the government, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold to the consumer as ‘medicine.’”

In 2008, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, 41,000 people died of inadvertent drug poisoning. As the author of the study says, these deaths are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mortality caused by modern chemistry, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and usually classified as painkillers, sedatives or stimulants. It doesn’t include suicides, drug interactions, allergic reactions or deaths where drugs were an unidentified cause.

The common denominator among the most deadly drugs is their ability to create addiction and dependency.

Please note: All drugs, without exception, are poison and can result in deadly harm to the human body. A common cause of drug induced death is liver failure, when the liver is overwhelmed by a struggle to clear pollution from the blood and is poisoned itself. If you become ill with nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms of unknown cause, you should immediately stop taking all medication until you are well again, and then re-evalute your drug regimen.


Here is a list of drugs commonly associated with poisoning and emergency room visits in 2009, excerpted from AlterNet. Note the number of those drugs that have been prescribed for you or that you bought over-the-counter at your local drug store.

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Rx Drugs in America

This list of brand name and generic drugs was compiled from the Drug Abuse Warning Network’s (DAWN’s) database of emergency room visits in 2009, including drug poisonings that lead to both deaths and survivals.

1. Xanax (alprazolam) 112,552 (benzodiazepine class)

2. OxyContin (and other oxycodone drugs) 105,214 (opiate class)

3. Vicodin (and other hydrocodone drugs) 86,258 (opiate class)

4. Methadone 63,031 (opiate class)

5. Klonopin (clonazepam) 57,633 (benzodiazepine class)

6. Ativan (lorazepam) 36,582 (benzodiazepine class)

7. Morphine drugs 31,731 (opiate class)

8. Seroquel (quetiapine) 29,436 (antipsychotic class)

9. Ambien (zolpidem) 29,127 (sedative class)

10. Valium (diazepam) 25,150 (benzodiazepine)

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