More Sacramento-area residents die from accidental drug overdoses than from car wrecks


About four Sacramento- area residents die from accidental drug overdoses, on average, every week.

From 2008 to 2012, about 1,160 residents in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties died following an overdose, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Public Health. By comparison, about 875 local residents died in car wrecks during that period.

The number of local, fatal drug overdoses nearly doubled between 2002 and 2012. Much of the rise, experts and advocates say, is due to increasing abuse of prescription painkillers.

Locally, drug overdoses were most common in El Dorado County between 2008 and 2012. They were least common in Placer and Yolo counties.

The same broad trends are happening statewide. Death rates from accidental overdoses are particularly high in Northern California, especially in the far rural north.