136,000 U.S. citizens died in 2014 as a consequence of unintentional injuries, said the National Safety Council in a report published on Thursday. Drug Overdose, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and choking, are among the leading causes of unintentional deaths, killing more people than stroke.

Unintentional injury is the number one cause of death for people between ages 1 and 42. Rates of death due to this reason have increased up to 4,2 from 2013 and 15.5 percent from 2004, as reported by The Associated Press (AP).

Unintentional deaths
Unintentional deaths are now the fourth leading cause of death among Americans. Credit: Thejmhlawfirm.com

Injuries cost the country $853,4 billion, which is the equivalent of $6,900 per household or $2,700 per person. Falls have increased 63 percent in the last decade, given that the American society is ageing.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the nation, surpassing car accidents

An estimated 42,000 people died from poisoning and overdose during 2014, exceeding numbers of deaths caused by car accidents. Opioid overdose was responsible for 13,4486 deaths, said the Safety Council.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 165,000 people died in the nation from overdoses related to prescription opioids such as methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, from 1999 to 2014.

“When you look at the staggering statistics in terms of lives lost, productivity impacted, cost to communities, costs to families, it has to be something that has to be right up there at the top of our radar screen,” said President Barack Obama on April, at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, referring to death caused by drug overdose.

Unintentional injury occupies the fourth cause of death in the country, after heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease. It affects more people than stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.

Is the United States taking the necessary measures to prevent deaths caused by unintentional injury?

Ken Kolosh, the safety council’s statistical manager, said on Thursday that society might not be taking the necessary measures to prevent accidental deaths.

“It’s all preventable. Every accident is preventable,” Kolosh was quoted as saying by AP.

The Safety Council has calculated that every four minutes an American dies from accidental causes. The rate is reduced to just one second when only considering people who suffer an accident and require medical assistance but do not die.

West Virginia is the most affected state by deaths caused by accidental injury, mostly because of overdoses, said Kolosh. The accidental rate is 75.2 per every 100,000 inhabitants. Oklahoma and Montana are following West Virginia on the list.

New York, California and Maryland are the states with the lowest rates of deaths caused by accidents, achieving a record of 30 per every 100,000 people. New trends show that the impact of car accidents have continuously decreased during the last years, while overdose deaths do the opposite.

George Gray, public health professor and security expert at George Washington University, told AP that unintentional injuries are becoming a major public health problem in the United States. In the past, injuries accounted for the seventh cause of death in the nation.

Ken Kolosh also remarked that deaths caused by car accidents have been notably reduced since 1980, from 53,000 to 35,398 in 2014, although preliminary data from 2015 shows that car crashes have increased up to 8 percent.

Source: The Associated Press