Studies show more people die from opioid overdoses than car accidents

Virginia

Help to combat crisis offered across the region

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a car crash, according to the National Safety Council.

The odds of dying accidentally from an opioid overdose have risen to 1 in 96, shading the odds of dying in a car crash at a rate of 1 in 103.

“In Fairfax County, the number of deaths by opioid overdose is greater than the number of deaths by motor vehicle accidents and by gun and homicides or suicides,” said Sarah White, Opioid Task Force Coordinator for Fairfax County.

This year in the Commonwealth, there were 324 fatal overdoses caused by opioids between January and March. Some areas in our region have been hit hard in particular.

“In the first quarter of 2019 there were 22 deaths from opioid overdoses this is on par with the number of deaths we saw in the county last year,” said Dr. Ben Schwartz, Director of Epidemiology for Fairfax County’s Health Department.

The Lord Fairfax Health District which covers the Shenandoah Valley saw 18 opioid-related deaths in the 1st quarter of 20-19 with the highest rates in Winchester City.

“Because the 22 cases in Fairfax County are amongst 1.1 million people that considerably less of a rate than 18 cases among 235, 000 people out here in the valley,” explained Dr. Colin Greene, Director of the Lord Fairfax Health District.

In Maryland, 2nd quarter data from April to June shows the first six-month decline in the total number of opioid-related deaths in at least a decade. State-wide there were 515 opioid-related deaths between January and March of 2019. During that period 23 were reported in Washington County, and 19 in Montgomery County.

Officials say it’s important to know what to do if someone overdoses. Help to combat the crisis is available in Washington County, Montgomery County, Shenandoah Valley and Fairfax County.

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