In 1979 the U.S. Government began tracking drug-related deaths and for the first time those deaths have surpassed the number of traffic fatalities on an annual basis.
The most recent statistics which were taken in 2009 shows that 37,485 people died in traffic related accidents while 36,284 people died from drug related activities in a one year period.
Surprisingly the main culprit of those deaths were not street illegal drugs but rather prescription options including Xanax, OxyContin and the main culprit Vicodin which killed more people than cocaine and heroin combined.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times a Santa Barbara sheriff said:
"The problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets."
Not all deaths have been related to drug overdoses from drug abuse, in many cases accidental double dosing by adults has been the culprit.
When asked how drug related deaths can be reduced one researcher said:
"What's really scary is we don't know a lot about how to reduce prescription deaths," while adding, "It's a wonderful medical advancement that we can treat pain, but we haven't figured out the safety belt yet."