Drug “Poisoning” More Accurate Than “Overdose”

The Fort Wayne Police Department Vice & Narcotics Department has changed terminology in reporting on the opioid crisis.   Specifically, changing the label “overdose” to “poisoning.”

A recent article from CBC news states, “Poisoning” is a technically accurate diagnostic term for what’s happening inside the body. Meanwhile, the word “overdose,” meaning “to administer medicine in too large a dose,” implies that a drug user knows what the dose is, and chooses to take too much.

When someone drinks too much, we call it alcohol poisoning.

When someone takes too much of a drug, we call it an overdose.

The difference in language may seem slight, but it says a lot about how our society differentiates between alcohol users and drug users.

Some medical professionals working in the field say that if we speak about the drug crisis in a more clinical, straightforward fashion, we can see it for what it is: a public health issue that can be addressed through the medical system.

We recognize that with the term “overdose” so entrenched, it will take time to change.

Thank you, Fort Wayne Police Department, for leading the way in stopping the stigma.


Here are the latest drug poisoning numbers for Fort Wayne for September 2017:

Drug Poisonings for 2016 & 2017

January 2016—51 Poisonings                                    January 2017—104 Poisonings

February 2016—39 Poisonings                                  February 2017—51 Poisonings

March 2016—59 Poisonings                                      March 2017—103 Poisonings

April 2016—51 Poisonings                                         April 2017—113 Poisonings

May 2016—75 Poisonings                                          May 2017—96 Poisonings

June 2016—57 Poisonings                                          June 2017—119 Poisonings

July 2016—41 Poisonings                                           July 2017—153 Poisonings

August 2016—108 Poisonings                                   August 2017—96 Poisonings

September 2016—77 Poisonings                              September 2017—97 Poisonings

January to September 2016—550 Poisonings

January to September 2017—933 Poisonings

2016 Total Drug Poisonings—804

Drug Poisoning Deaths

2016 Total Drug Poisoning Deaths—68

2017 Total Drug Poisoning Deaths as of October 2nd—73


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