Drug Overdoses, Suicide Now Leading Causes of Injury Deaths

June 18, 2015|2:35 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In 2013, drug overdoses killed 44,000 people, while suicide claimed the lives of 41,000 people—making them the foremost causes of injury deaths in the United States according to The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.

The report, which the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released on Wednesday, says that injury deaths kill 193,000 people in America every year, and are the leading cause of death among people from ages one to 44.

Overdose deaths have doubled over the past 14 years, and half of those deaths stem from prescription drugs. To address the rising drug overdose deaths, the report recommends that states implement prescription drug monitoring programs and increase access to naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

In contrast, the suicide rate has remained fairly consistent over the past 20 years, with 12.1 suicides per 100,000 people in 1993 versus 12.6 suicides per 100,000 people in 2013.

The report also found that injury deaths rose in 17 states and remained stable in the other 24, but nine states decreased their injury death rates.

"This report illustrates how evidence-based strategies can actually help prevent and reduce motor vehicle crashes, head injuries, fires, falls, homicide, suicide, assaults, sexual violence, child abuse, drug misuse, overdoses and more," says TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi. "It's not rocket science, but it does require common sense and investment in good public health practice."