Jun 18, 2015

Drug overdoses are No. 1 cause of injury deaths, says state-by-state report on injury prevention

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S., amounting to 44,000 per year, says a joint state-by-state injury prevention policy report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report, "The Facts Hurt," found that "the number of injury deaths increased significantly in 17 states, remained stable in 24 states and decreased in nine states." Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44, resulting in 193,000 deaths per year. Rural areas, especially in the South, have some of the highest rates of addiction to painkillers and drug overdoses. (Iowa tied for the lowest score for reducing injuries and violence)

Drug overdose deaths have doubled in the past 14 years, states the report, which says prescription overdoses are responsible for half of all drug overdose deaths. "Overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 36 states and Washington, D.C. And, in the past four years, drug overdose death rates have significantly increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C., and decreased in six."   

The report also includes "a report card of 10 key indicators of leading evidence-based strategies that help reduce injuries and violence." Overall, 29 states and Washington, D.C., scoring a five or lower. Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Montana each scored a two, while New York led the way with a nine. (Read more