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

 

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

Bad news.

Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

When one considers all of the money and political capital that’s invested in auto safety, couldn’t we do more to prevent these deaths? Harm reduction has a role, but treatment-on-demand is crucial.