The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

July 4, 2014

Avoidable injuries are killing too many young Americans

Friday, July 4, 2014 — Not so cheerful news before your holiday weekend: Some sobering new government numbers show just how many young people die from injuries that could have been avoided.

In all, preventable injuries kill about 180,000 Americans each year, according to researcher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's injury prevention unit. That includes such things as car crashes, drug overdoses, falls, assaults, suicide and drowning.

 Injuries in 2010 accounted for about 80 percent of deaths in people under 30 years old, a rate that CDC researchers called "alarming." Of those deaths, 60 percent were from unintentional injuries, and the remaining injury deaths were split almost evenly between suicide and homicide. Chronic diseases accounted for about about 20 percent of deaths for people under 30.

Among the entire population, the rate of deaths stemming from unintentional injuries was slightly higher, at 67 percent. Motor-vehicle crashes in 2010 topped the list (33,687 deaths), followed by poisoning (33,041), falls (26,009), suffocation (6,165), drowning (3,782) and fires (2,845). Meanwhile, about 38,000 people died from drug overdoses.

There's another story to be told about people who live after suffering avoidable injuries that brought them into the hospital. More than 31.2 million unintentional and violence-related injuries happened in 2010, which the CDC says costs $513 billion in medical care and in lost productivity across the victims' life spans. And that says nothing of the legal costs, costs related to other health problems and injuries not treated.

The researchers, who write about their findings in The Lancet, seem clearly frustrated with the attitude that "accidents happen" as a reason to dismiss interventions that could potentially lower the rate of injuries. They write:

               

Representatives in public health have struggled to change this perception in some key stakeholders such as policymakers and even health professionals. When the need for injury prevention is recognised by individuals in health systems, training, time, and skill are often insufficient to enable a suitable response.

               

Researchers say there's plenty that could be done to save lives, including those identified by the Community Preventive Services Task Force. But there are factors that stand in the way of progress - social, economic, clinical, limited resources and so on. Some interventions seem simple enough to convey, such as encouraging more people to buckle their seatbelts. Others, such as reducing violence in our poorer neighborhoods, present a much more complex challenge.

 

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

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