We Asked, You Answered: Did Guns, Car Crashes or Drug Overdoses Kill More People in 2017?
In our most recent poll, nearly 75 percent of participants voted that they think the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses in 2017 outnumbered those caused by guns or car crashes. While the exact figures have not yet been confirmed, it appears our readers will be proven right.
Current projections by the CDC place last year’s loss of life due to drug overdose well above that of 2016 – a year in which overdose deaths also outnumbered those by guns and cars.
In 2016, there were approximately:
- 40,000 motor vehicle-related deaths
- 39,000 people firearm-related deaths
- 64,000 people drug overdose-related deaths
The latest provisional data from the CDC indicates that between June 2016 and June 2017, drug overdoses killed more than 66,000 people in the U.S. This marks a 16 percent increase from the previous 12-month period.
The persistent rise in overdose deaths over the past several years has largely been attributed to our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic and the growing prevalence of fentanyl within the illegal drug market.
In 2017, motor vehicle deaths decreased; firearm death rates have not yet been reported.
It’s critical to note, the preventable loss of life is always heartbreaking. Whether it’s a result of guns, cars or drugs, evidence-based solutions must be implemented to prevent these tragedies. In our guide for addressing our nation’s current opioid epidemic, we have outlined steps state policymakers can take to reduce opioid overdose deaths and other harmful consequences of drug misuse and addiction. There are also actions everyday people can take, such as safely storing or disposing of their prescription medications and carrying naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.
Our hope is that 2018 will be a turning point for this national crisis and we will be able to share that the rates of drug overdose deaths have declined by this time next year, allowing more people to have the opportunity to live full, healthy lives – free from addiction.
Hannah Freedman is a communications and digital associate at Center on Addiction