Whitney Houston cause of death Saturday came from a combination of prescription anti-depression pills and alcohol, according to several reports.
The songstress died from a combination of antidepressants and other meds along with alcohol, TMZ reported Monday.
Each year, an estimated 15,000 Americans die from prescription pills, typically overdosing on the meds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prescription drug abuse reached epidemic proportions, according to the CDC, by causing three-times the number of deaths annually in the past decade.
In 1999, prescription drug abuse caused 4,000 deaths and by 2008, that number increased to 15,000 people.
The CDC also reports that nonmedical use of prescription drugs costs the U.S. medical system $72.5 billion annually in health care costs.
According to the CDC, groups greatest at risk include:
- Many more men than women die of overdoses from prescription painkillers.
- Middle-aged adults have the highest prescription painkiller overdose rates.
- People in rural counties are about two times as likely to overdose on prescription painkillers as people in big cities.
- Whites and American Indian or Alaska Natives are more likely to overdose on prescription painkillers.
- About 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Natives age 12 or older used prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons in the past year, compared to 1 in 20 whites and 1 in 30 blacks.
Celebrities have exemplified the prescription drug epidemic, with several dying in the past several years.
Below is a photo gallery of celebrities, singers and actors who have died from prescription meds in the past decade.