Drug deaths outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show

September 20, 2011

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Los Angeles Times analysis of government data has found.

In a Sept. 17 article by the Los Angeles Times, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is analyzed to find that at least 37,485 people died from drugs nationwide in 2009.

From the article:

While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.

Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation’s growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.

Read the complete Los Angeles Times article.

Share this article: