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Unintentional injury and violence cause many deaths in the USA

Harold Mandel's picture
Stop violence

The United States has been becoming a more dangerous and violent country. Certainly the country is far from an idyllic place to live, work and raise a family these days. Daily reports hit the press of unnecessary deaths from injury and violence. This tragic loss of lives has been found to be particularly high among young Americans.

Deaths from violence and injury are preventable

During the first three decades of life more people in the United States die from injuries and violence
than from any other cause reported The Lancet. Among the millions of people who survive these mishaps there are physical, emotional, and financial problems left to cope with on a daily basis. This all becomes particularly tragic when we consider that injuries and violence are not accidents and they are therefore preventable. Although prevention has a solid scientific foundation it has become apparent prevention efforts have not been not fully implemented or integrated into clinical and community settings.

Investigators have reviewed the burden of injuries and violence in the United States. They have taken note of effective interventions and have discussed methods to bring interventions into practice. It is felt that alliances between various groups can help lower injuries and violence. These alliances should include:

1: Public health community and medical care organizations

2: Health-care providers

3: States

4: Communities

It has been suggested that together these groups should work to frame injuries and violence as preventable while identifying evidence-based interventions. These groups should also provide scientific information to decision makers and work to strengthen the capacity of an integrated health system in order to prevent injuries and violence.

About 180,000 people die from preventable causes a year in the USA

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About 80 percent of US deaths in the first three decades of life are due to unintentional injury or violence reports The Lancet in a discussion of this investigation. This is a staggering problem but the report shows that prevention strategies across society have a great deal of promise for the prevention of unintended deaths and injuries. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers have found more Americans between the ages of one and 30 die from injury than from any other cause. There is about one injury death every 3 minutes. Each year about 180,000 people in the United States die from preventable causes such as:

1: Automobile crashes

2: Drowning

3: Firearm-related injuries

4: Falls

5: Assault

6: Drug overdoses

In 2010 the three leading causes of death for people between one and 30 were unintentional injury,
suicide, and homicide. About four fifths of deaths among people from this age group were due to injuries while only one fifth were due to chronic diseases and only 1 percent were due to infectious diseases. In this same year among people of all ages, 121,000 died due to unintentional injuries
which included automobile crashes, poisoning, and suffocation.

Opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone have been found to be a significant
source of injury deaths. Ever since 1990 the number of deaths from these painkillers has nearly quadrupled. In 2010 alone 38,329 people died from drug overdoses.

Scientific evidence to support prevention of injury and violence is strong

Lead author of this study, Dr. Tamara M. Haegerich, PhD, says there is a lot that can be done to prevent injuries and violence. Haegerich points out that injuries and violence are not accidents and are not inevitable. Prevention is possible. However, he feels this recognition may not be widely accepted by policy makers, clinical health professionals, and the public. Haegerich takes the position that scientific evidence to support prevention of injury and violence is strong and should be pursued.

The figures dealing with lost lives among young people from injury and violence in the United States
are shocking. It is inexcusable to fail to recognize that such deaths are preventable. More aggressive efforts are needed in every sector of our society to prevent such unnecessary deaths.