Accidental Deaths Increase Due to Opioid Overdoses

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), opioid overdoses are causing a sharp increase in accidental deaths in the United States. In fact, for the first time in over a century, the NSC found accidental deaths to be the third-leading cause of fatalities in 2016.

Accidental Deaths in the USA

Accidents accounted for 161,374 deaths in 2016, up 10 percent from 2015. Common causes of accidental deaths include vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking, and poisoning—this category includes accidental overdoses. This spike in deaths has been fueled by the opioid crisis. Opioid overdose deaths totaled 37,814 from drugs including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, and non-prescription fentanyl.

Where and Who is Most at Risk?

Poisoning deaths hit a peak for individuals in their early 30s, consistent with reports that Millenials are hit especially hard by the epidemic. Ohio led the nation in opioid overdose deaths, with 3,495, followed by New York, with 2,752 and Florida, 2,622.

Steps to Reduce or Prevent Overdoses

In October, President Trump declared a public health emergency to combat the opioid epidemic, a move designed to free up some resources for treatment. However, the president’s move is seen as a half-measure, as it involves no new money. It falls short of Trump’s earlier promise to declare the crisis a “national emergency,” which would have allocated new federal funds for the crisis.

Reversing an Overdose

If you are a close loved-one or friend of an opioid user, it is wise to invest in naloxone for the worst case scenario. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose.

  1. Call 911;
  2. Put individual in the recovery position to avoid aspiration in the event of vomit;
  3. Administer naloxone–if you are unsure the overdose is due to an opioid, apply anyway;
  4. Rescue breathing if breathing is labored or not breathing at all;
  5. Provide comfort once the individual is breathing, they may be confused, upset, or going through withdrawal.

Test Smartly Labs provides wellness testing for individuals, including screening for most major health risks.

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