The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have released a new injury prevention policy report. The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report,   The study is a report card based of 10 key indicators of leading evidence-based strategies that help reduce injuries and violence.

One person dies from an injury every three minutes in the United States, and injuries are the leading cause of death for children and for all Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the unintentional injuries sustained in one year will have a lifetime cost exceeding $794 billion.

In the past four years, the number of injury deaths increased significantly in 17 states, remained stable in 24 states and decreased in nine states. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44 – and are responsible for nearly 193,000 deaths per year. The indicators were developed in consultation with top injury prevention experts from the Safe States Alliance and the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR). Of significance:

  • Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, resulting in nearly 44,000 deaths in 2013. More than half of these deaths (51.8 percent) were related to prescription drugs, with more than 16,000 deaths related to prescription painkillers, and nearly 7,000 related to anxiety and sleep medications.       Overdose deaths more than doubled from 1999 to 2013.
  • Suicides accounts for around 41,000 deaths each year. There has been little change in suicide rates over the last 20 years.       There was a decrease from 1993 to 2000, from (12.1 per 100,000 in 1993 to 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000), but since then, rates increased to 12.6 per 100,000 people in 2013). Rates increased the most among 45- to 54-year-olds (36.8 percent increase between 1993 to 2013). Suicide deaths are nearly four times higher among males than females, and rates are more than twice as high among Whites and American Indians/Alaskan Natives than Blacks and Latinos
  • Suffocation is the leading cause of injury death for children under 1 year old; drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4; and falls are the leading nonfatal injury for children and teens under 15.
  • Traumatic-injury consequences are broad and long-term.       For example, some adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) — including physical and sexual abuse — contribute to an increased risk for the 25 leading causes of death (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and other health problems.

In terms of the fifty states, injury deaths vary greatly among the states with the eight states with the highest rates: West Virginia with 97.9 per 100,000 people; New Mexico with 92.7 per 100,000 people; Oklahoma with 88.4 per 100,000 people; Montana with 85.1 per 100,000 people; Wyoming with 84.6 per 100,000 people; Alaska with 83.5 per 100,000 people Kentucky with 81.7 per 100,000 people; Mississippi with 81.0 per 100,000 people have more than twice as many deaths as the state with the lowest rate in New York with 40.4 per 100,000 people.

In terms of prevention twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. scored a five or lower out of the 10 key injury-prevention indicators. New York received the highest score of nine out of a possible 10, while four states scored the lowest, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Montana, with two out of 10.