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2015-09-02

Painkiller Overdose a Leading Cause of Death

As if we didn't know this already, from all the media reports on painkiller abuse and overdoses. Nonetheless, this is a study that deserves some attention to illustrate the magnitude of the problem, which finds that drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States and are now the leading cause of deaths from injury in the US.


Every year, nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses. Deaths due to drug overdose have more than doubled in the past 14 years, and half of them are related to prescription drugs (22,000 per year), the report shows. During the past 4 years, the number of overdose deaths rose significantly in 26 states and Washington, DC, and decreased in only six states. In 36 states and Washington, DC, overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle–related deaths.

Prescription drug abuse is a "national epidemic," but it affects some states much more than others. West Virginia has the highest number of drug overdose deaths (33.5 per 100,000), and North Dakota, the lowest (2.6 per 100,000).
    It's also interesting to note that those States that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a reduction in deaths from painkiller overdoses.

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    Source: The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report

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