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accidental drug overdose

Most drug overdoses are classified as accidental or unintentional.

Overdose deaths are usually caused by prescription opioids that may or may not have been prescribed to a person, heroin, fentanyl, and/or other synthetic opioids.

Common settings where overdose deaths occur include the person’s own home, someone else’s residence, sober living facilities (“apartments”), sidewalks and hospitals.

The manner of overdose deaths are most commonly found to be accidental/unintentional, suicide, or undetermined.

An accidental death is one that was totally unforeseen and unexpected.

Limitations of ‘accident’ as a manner of death for drug overdose mortality

Drug intoxication deaths are generally classified as ‘accidents’ or unintentional, a fundamental mischaracterisation; most arose from repetitive self-harm behaviors related to substance acquisition and misuse. Moreover, given the burden of affirmative evidence required to determine suicide, many of these ‘accidents’ likely reflected unrecognised intentional acts — that is, suicide.