Medication overdoses make headlines and thus public opinion. A huge focus is on overdoses, largely because they have skyrocketed over the past two decades. However, there are many other ways that drugs can kill.
Drug use increases the risk of death regardless of what type of drug a person uses or how they use it.
Addicts can die from an overdose
Perhaps the most well-known cause of death from drug use is an overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2019, the highest death rate ever recorded. And the numbers are increasing rapidly. The death rate in 2019 is almost double that of the 38,000 people who died from overdoses in 2010 and more than three times the 20,000 people who died from overdoses in 2000.
Alcohol also causes deaths from overdose, although these are often referred to as poisoning rather than overdosing. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year, with many of those deaths being caused by alcohol poisoning. So many people die of alcohol that alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States today, after tobacco, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
More than 160,000 Americans lose their lives to drugs and alcohol each year, most of these deaths due to overdoses. Overdoses are completely preventable, suggesting that lives could be saved if more efforts and resources were invested in public health interventions, treatment, community actions, and family interventions.
Car accidents from drug and alcohol use
An all too common killer in the United States, automobile accidents are sometimes caused because one or more drivers drive a vehicle while it is impaired. This is especially tragic as the victims of car accidents are often the people in other cars (or pedestrians) that are Not Use fabrics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Americans die every day in car accidents involving an alcoholic driver. In 2016 alone, 10,497 people died from alcohol-related traffic accidents, a number that accounts for 28% of all road deaths that year.
So many deaths make one preventable death every 50 minutes. It’s also a costly problem that costs $ 44 billion in medical bills, funeral bills, and collateral damage each year.
The number of traffic fatalities under the influence of drugs is also increasing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 43% of all fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2016, suggesting the problem is as widespread as driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to another organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Around 4,000 people are killed on the street every year who have drugs in their system. However, the real number is undoubtedly much higher since not all road deaths in post-mortem toxicology are tested for medication.
Drug users can suffer and die from communicable diseases
Another killer of drug users is communicable diseases and infections. These infections can be spread from one user to another through sharing the needle or through sexual intercourse.
Not only can these infections be fatal, even if they are non-fatal, they are often lifelong, incurable, and cause immense harm to the addict’s life. According to NIDA, drug use makes it easier for HIV to enter the brain, causing severe nerve cell damage and problems with cognitive functions such as thinking, learning, and memory.
Although deaths related to drug use and viral infections like HIV / AIDS and hepatitis are no longer as common as they used to be, approximately 15,000 Americans die with HIV each year. About 7% of those infected with HIV are people who inject drugs, according to a government source on HIV statistics.
Drugs, alcohol and cancer
Cancer is a growing problem in the United States in terms of annual diagnostic statistics. And while the death rate from cancer has decreased somewhat in recent years, cancer is undoubtedly a serious public health problem. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 600,000 Americans die from cancer each year.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has reported extensively on the relationship between cancer and alcohol use. As one of their press releases said: “Substantial evidence suggests a link between heavy alcohol consumption and an increased risk of cancer, with an estimated 2 to 4 percent of all cancers caused either directly or indirectly by alcohol. There is a strong association between alcohol consumption and cancers of the esophagus, throat, and mouth, while a more controversial association links alcohol with liver, breast, and colon cancers. Together, these cancers kill more than 125,000 people annually in the United States. ”
“More than 125,000 people die each year from these types of cancer
in the United States.”
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health attempted to confirm the NIAAA data. This study looked at alcohol-related deaths from 2000 to 2009 and found that alcohol consumption resulted in an estimated 18,200 to 21,300 cancer deaths during that period. The study authors concluded their results with the simple recommendation: “Alcohol continues to be a major contributor to cancer mortality. Higher consumption increases the risk, but there is no safe threshold for alcohol and cancer risk. Reducing alcohol consumption is an important and underestimated strategy for cancer prevention. ”
Drug use is also considered to be a high risk factor for cancer development. NIDA reports that people who use steroids, cannabis, tobacco, and vaping mechanisms are at increased risk of developing cancer.
Make getting help a priority for addicts
If you know someone who uses drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both, make sure they get help as soon as possible. There is no doubt that drugs and alcohol kill, and do it in different ways, often unexpectedly.
The only sure way for someone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction is to seek help through treatment. If you know someone who is using drugs and cannot quit, make sure they get to an inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment center as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late.