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Opioids No. 1 Cause Of Accidental Deaths In New York, Report Says

The National Safety Council has examined the leading causes of unintentional deaths and injuries, and is taking action in five areas where it can make the greatest impact. One of these areas is prescription drug abuse. Learn how you can get involved.
The National Safety Council has examined the leading causes of unintentional deaths and injuries, and is taking action in five areas where it can make the greatest impact. One of these areas is prescription drug abuse. Learn how you can get involved. Video Credit: National Safety Council

For the third straight year, opioids are once again the leading cause of accidental deaths in New York State, according to a new report from the National Safety Council that was recently released.

New York was among 24 states in the country where accidental poisoning - mostly due to the abuse of prescription opioids - was the leading cause of accidental deaths, according to the report. The NSC estimates that each day, 60 people die from opioid pain medications in the country.

According to the New York State Department of Health , from July 2015 to September 2016, there were 113 opioid overdoses in Westchester County. Dutchess (85 reported overdoses), Rockland (45) and Putnam (21) County each fared better. There were more than 2,500 overdoses reported in the state during that time period.

Opioids - including prescription painkillers and heroin - killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

“Unintentional poisoning deaths in the adult population were not prevalent until the early 1990s,” officials noted. “Since then, this category has skyrocketed to first place, driven by unintentional drug overdose - predominantly from prescription painkillers.”

In total, nearly 2,500 overdoses were reported in the state during that time period. In a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report, the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration said there are more than 4 million current non-medical users of painkillers.

“Painkillers don’t kill pain,” NSC medical advisor Don Teater stated. “They kill people.”

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