Drug overdose death rates have increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C., and overdoses continue to outpace car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths, according to a new report.
Nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, a figure that more than doubled from 1999 to 2013, and more than half of them stem from prescription pills.
The report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was released Wednesday, ranks states on their actions to curb the most common causes of injury-related deaths — drug abuse, motor vehicle deaths, homicides, suicides, falls and traumatic brain injuries.
"Over 10 years, the opioid prescriptions have quadrupled, but there's not a change in the overall pain that Americans had in that same period," said Amber Williams, executive director of Safe States Alliance, an organization of experts who work on injury and violence prevention nationwide. "There's definitely a mismatch between the prescriptions and the health issues because the issues have remained the same."
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