Opioid Overdoses Fuel Rise in Accidental Deaths

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Opioid overdoses are fueling a sharp increase in accidental deaths in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC). The group found accidental deaths became the third-leading cause of fatalities in 2016 for the first time in more than a century, NPR reports. Accidents accounted for 161,374 deaths that year, up 10 percent from 2015. Common causes of accidental deaths include motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking and poisoning—a category that includes accidental overdoses. In a statement, NSC said, “The unprecedented spike [in accidental deaths] has been fueled by the opioid crisis. Unintentional opioid overdose deaths totaled 37,814 from drugs including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, and illicitly-made fentanyl.”
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Number of Children and Teens Hospitalized for Opioid Overdoses Almost Tripled

Number of Children and Teens Hospitalized for Opioid Overdoses Almost Tripled
A new study finds the number of young children and teens hospitalized for opioid painkiller overdoses has almost tripled in recent years. Opioid overdoses increased 205 percent from 1997 to 2012 among children ages 1 to 4, HealthDay reports. Among teens ages 15 to 19, overdoses increased 176 percent. Most poisonings due to opioid painkillers among children under 10 were accidental. Lead researcher Julie Gaither of the Yale School of Medicine says young children are “eating them like candy.” Most overdoses among teens were accidental, although some were suicide attempts, Dr. Gaither noted. The study appears in JAMA Pediatrics .
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