Epidemic of suicides and alcohol-related deaths

Since the 16,000 annual deaths from opioid overdoses have been declared an epidemic, it seems even more alarming that there are 40,000 annual deaths from suicide and 75,000 annual deaths related to alcohol.  We could accomplish the most important goal of restricting opioids, which is preventing the loss of life, much more effectively by trying to prevent the much more common tragic and preventable deaths related to suicide and alcohol.

FastStats – CDC – Deaths and Mortality

Number of deaths for leading causes of death (Data from 2010)

  • Heart disease: 596,577
  • Cancer: 576,691
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974
  • Diabetes: 73,831
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

Annual Causes of Death in the United States | Drug War Facts

Cause of death (Data from 2013)

  • Intentional Self-Harm (Suicide) 41,149

2013 Data Detailing Drug-Induced Deaths, Breaking Out Specific Data for Prescription Analgesics and Heroin, as Reported by the CDC4

  • Drug Overdose Total 43,982
  • Prescription Analgesics Total 16,235
  • Heroin Overdose Total 6,235

Alcohol-Related Death Facts | LIVESTRONG.COM

About 75,000 Americans died of alcohol-related causes in 2007, and about 40,000 of those deaths were caused by injuries, according to the “Healthy People 2010” report produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Alcohol “plays a role” in at least 50 percent of traffic deaths, about half of murders and about 25 percent of suicides, reports

Alcohol-Related Deaths Kill More Than AIDS, TB Or Violence, WHO Reports

Alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence, the World Health Organization warned on Friday.

Yet alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism, it said.

Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries, according to WHO’s first report on alcohol since 2004.

In light of these other heartbreaking causes of death, it seems much time, money, and energy is being spent in the wrong place if we really are trying to prevent a loss of life.

How can the extensive and expensive war on opioids be justified when these particular medications are only a small factor in the number of preventable annual deaths?

3 thoughts on “Epidemic of suicides and alcohol-related deaths

  1. painkills2

    Perspective is important, but not to the anti-drug groups and the federal government, as they continue to use the word “epidemic.” They should know better — everyone learns as a child that you shouldn’t call wolf.

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  2. Pingback: Epidemic of suicides and alcohol-related deaths | All Things Chronic

  3. Casey

    I really wish that lawmakers et al would realize that people will sometimes drink & take opioids to numb pain, and a lot of people with chronic pain commit suicide….things that impact the opioid overdose statistics. How many of these deaths are people that weren’t trying to OD and just trying to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

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