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  • In 16 states, drug deaths overtake traffic fatals

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...fI_6gD9B1TECG3

    ATLANTA — In 16 states and counting, drugs now kill more people than auto accidents do, the government said Wednesday.

    Experts said the startling shift reflects two opposite trends: Driving is becoming safer, and the legal and illegal use of powerful prescription painkillers is on the rise.

    For decades, traffic accidents have been the biggest cause of injury-related death in the U.S., and they are still No. 1. But drug overdoses are pulling ahead in one state after another.

    "People see a car accident as something that might happen to them," said Margaret Warner, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But as for death from a drug overdose, "maybe they see it as something that's not going happen to them."

    The drug-related death rate roughly doubled from the late 1990s to 2006, according to the most recent CDC data.

    The number of states in which drug-related deaths have overtaken traffic fatalities has gone from eight in 2003 to 12 in 2005, and 16 in 2006. They are: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

    It's not clear why those states have seen such a shift, but experts said certain drugs may be more of a problem in some states than in others.

    While cocaine and heroin continue to be significant killers, most of the increase is attributed to prescription opiates such as the painkillers methadone, Oxycontin and Vicodin.

    From 1999 to 2006, death rates for such medications climbed for every age group. Deaths from methadone alone increased sevenfold, according to the CDC.

    It's not all black market stuff, either.

    About half of the opiate medication deaths in King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, involved people who got their drugs through legal prescriptions, said Caleb Banta-Green, a University of Washington research scientist.

    "There has been a dramatic change in how doctors prescribe opiates," Banta-Green said.

    In the 1990s, he said, doctors began recognizing that chronic pain was undertreated. The prescribing of painkillers escalated after that. Today, about one in five U.S. adults and one in 10 adolescents are prescribed an opiate each year, he said.

    "The pendulum swung in the other direction," he said.

    Using death certificate data, CDC researchers counted more than 45,000 U.S. deaths nationwide from traffic accidents in 2006, and about 39,000 from drug-induced causes.

    About 90 percent of those drug fatalities are sudden deaths from overdoses, but the count includes people who died from organ damage from long-term drug use or abuse.

    In Massachusetts, there were more than 1,000 drug-related deaths in 2006, double the number of traffic deaths, according to the CDC. Michigan had about 500 more drug deaths than vehicle fatalities, and New York had 350 more.

    Nationally, the death rate from traffic accidents fell by about 6.5 percent from 1999 through 2006 — from 15.3 deaths per 100,000 people to 14.3 per 100,000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The decline in road fatalities is "considered one of the great public health triumphs" of the past few decades, the CDC's Warner said.

    On the Net:
    CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS

  • #2
    Over half of the deaths were from drugs acquired through legal means. Doesn't surprise me... However it does provide a good counter argument to those that claim legalization will reduce habitual users.

    -SC
    Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
    - G. M. Trevelyan

    B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
    MPA - University of Texas Dallas 2004
    Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice - American Military University 2006
    Graduate Certificate in Accounting - University of Dallas 2008
    Various Graduate Credits - UoP
    MA Christian Ministry Chaplaincy Dallas Baptist University 20%
    DPA Valdosta State 30%

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    • #3
      A macabre argument for legalization may be that addicts will use more -- a lot more -- and die sooner.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        This scares me. My oldest daughter (19 and moved out) is an admitted drug user. When we had the huge family "clash" over her drug use, we discovered she'd been using pot, coke, ecstasy, and prescription drugs. The last one scared me as much as the first three, if not more, and while she claims to be clean now, I've spent many nights awake, worried I'll get a phone call that she's OD'd and I have to go ID the body. And our state is one of the 16.

        Thank GOD our other kids (two teenage boys and my 8-year-old girl) watched what it did to their older sister and steer clear of this crap.
        If I tell you what I know, I'd have to kill you. Fortunately, I don't know much.

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        • #5
          Uh...I didn't see any red states in that list.

          Just an observation.

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          • #6
            Oxy is a big problem out here in the highschools...even when I was in Highschool.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mikeymedic View Post
              Oxy is a big problem out here in the highschools...even when I was in Highschool.
              And I don't understand it. I was on Oxycontin following surgery. It neither killed the pain, NOR made me feel good. It was like taking sugar pills.

              Is it mixed or taken straight, as-is?
              If I tell you what I know, I'd have to kill you. Fortunately, I don't know much.

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              • #8
                I think its taken straight, but in larger quantity than prescribed.........
                'Evil always wins when Good does nothing'-Anonymous

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                • #9
                  this is all wrong. it's NOT true. the truth is that falling down the stairs is the biggest cause of death.. surprise ?? let's find out. too many lairs out there.
                  break censorship chains

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry to hear about your daughter ISPY4U. Despite the bad economy I hope people will attempt providing some form of support to others who may seem overwhelmed with stress in these times. Down here in Florida instead of drugs you have men who continue to execute themselves and their families. Boy I wish they would go seek help and stop killing their wives and children.
                    Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ISPY4U2 View Post
                      And I don't understand it. I was on Oxycontin following surgery. It neither killed the pain, NOR made me feel good. It was like taking sugar pills.

                      Is it mixed or taken straight, as-is?
                      Well you were in PAIN, so the meds did something different, if you had taken more than you might have gotten a "buzz" from it.

                      Speaking from experience as a alcoholic and drug addict (in recovery since 11/12/91) I can say that some opiates gave me an extreme high ONE time, after that they only acted as depressants. I have heard people say they chased that magic seldom achieved euphoric high for the rest of their active addiction.

                      The time release oxy stuff the addicts BITE the pills to release it all at once, thus getting a much more concentrated dose.

                      Bill
                      Just pay your dues, and be quiet :-)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DAL View Post
                        A macabre argument for legalization may be that addicts will use more -- a lot more -- and die sooner.
                        We call that a 'self cleaning oven'.
                        sigpic
                        Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun.
                        And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son.

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                        • #13
                          Victims of a "victimless" crime? (Maybe the cause of death should be reclassified as: Natural Causes.)
                          "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                          • #14
                            I was on my honeymoon last night at a local casino, some guy randomly walked up to me and my wife and asked if we were looking to buy...should have seen the look on his face when I pulled out my badge...should have seen the look on my wife's face when I arrested the guy. Man was she ****ed.

                            Moral of the story...never arrest someone on your honeymoon.

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                            • #15
                              Writing...never arrest on honeymoon...

                              Got it.

                              Comment

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