Car accidents are no longer the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. According to a recent report published by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics , this dubious distinction now belongs to drug poisoning. What's at the root of this trend? A river of prescription painkillers. Indeed, the report suggests that the United States is in the midst of a painkiller epidemic. Every year, more people now die from analgesic pain relievers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, than cocaine and heroin combined. Abuse is so bad these days that doctors are having difficulty keeping up with the demand. Celebrity watchers don't have to be reminded that there's a problem going on. Recent deaths in which painkillers were implicated (in whole or in part) include Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco), Dana Plato, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Anna Nicole Smith. And if the latest statistics are to be believed, it's a problem that's likely to get worse before it's fully acknowledged as a widespread problem.