2.5 Times more Suicides than Opioid Overdoses

Every day in the United States,

49 people die as a result of opioid overdoses (18,000/yr)
112 people die as a result of suicide (41,000/yr)
1,205 people die (every day!) as a result of preventable hospital errors (440,000/yr)

There’s an epidemic of people dying while in the care of the medical profession.

Suicide Rates have been mostly climbing 1999-2013 and have increased by about a quarter in that time. The impact of denying patients their opioid pain medication has been greatest in the last couple of years, so we haven’t seen the effects, if any, of that yet.

num sucide 1999-2013

(Table shows number of deaths per 100,000 people)

The next time someone uses the frightening statistic that overdoses kill 44 people each day,  you can point out to them it’s only a fraction of the 112 people who commit suicide each day. That is far more frightening to me.

Since 2010, opioid-related deaths have decreased, yet the anti-opioid politicians are still churning out more and more restrictions on pain medication.

Painkiller sales + deaths

Here’s another preventable “epidemic” that’s killing people at 10 times the rate of suicide:

Hospital Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S. | October 23, 2013 –

New research estimates up to 440,000 Americans are dying annually from preventable hospital errors. This puts medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States, underscoring the need for patients to protect themselves and their families from harm, and for hospitals to make patient safety a priority.

“We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented.”  

The next time someone rants about the “opioid epidemic” you can let them know that well over 20 times as many are dying from preventable medical errors.

Perhaps medical errors would be a better target for outrage.

Despite these numbers, the biggest efforts are aimed at opioids, instead of suicide or medical errors. This seems an arbitrary selection, perhaps selected for the powerful media interest it would generate? As a boost for the “drug war”? Or to draw attention away from the obscene rate of medical errors?

10 thoughts on “2.5 Times more Suicides than Opioid Overdoses

  1. Payne Hertz

    Of course, many of those alleged “opioid overdoses” may be suicides as well, perhaps due to a lack of opioids rather than a surfeit; we just don’t know and no one seems interested in asking since it doesn’t fit certain obvious agendas.

    Liked by 1 person

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