I have been perplexed by the knowledge that opioid overdoses, suicides, and other preventable injury deaths are considered public health menaces. Specifically, it is easy to limit the definition of injuries to the physical damage on a person due to trauma or other external forces. I have been obliged that overdoses and suicides are injuries.
Various statistics have captured my attention. Firstly, from 2007 to 2018, suicide rates increased by 57% for youths between 10 and 24 years (CST, 2021). Secondly, opioid overdose deaths occur at 1 in 96 rates, higher than automobile crash rates of 1 in 103 (NSC, 2019). Thirdly, there were more than 700k overdose-based demises in 2017 in the USA, reflecting a 9.6% rate increase (HCPLive, 2020). These statistics are all saddening since the represented deaths are characterized as preventable.
There is a gap in knowledge conveyance to the civilians since most people do not recognize the severity of the matter. Hence, I do not think this knowledge is well-known as it should be in society. For instance, I was surprised to know that one preventive way of helping a suicidal person is directly asking if they think of killing themselves and the plans they have developed for the process. I would have suggested that such an approach would only stimulate self-harm and alienation. Nonetheless, I have learnt that it is an effective way of showing compassion. It helps the victims know that others understand and consider them since someone is keen enough to realize their distress (JED, 2022).
To tackle these preventable injury deaths, awareness is the crucial component. People should be taught to de-stigmatize drug addiction and suicidal tendencies. If the populace is more open-minded, afflicted persons will readily talk about their issues and solve most issues before extreme losses occur. Finally, overdoses can be rectified by specific regimen regulations such that medications like fentanyl are not oversupplied to the populations. Ultimately, civilians, doctors, legislators, families, and institutions should work hand in hand to create awareness regarding preventable injury deaths and encourage people to seek help through public and private platforms.
What are the most surprising, interesting and important things you learned about injury as a public health concern?
Do you think this knowledge is as well-known as it should be?
What can be done?
CST Editorial Board. (2021). Confronting the soaring suicide rate among America’s young people. Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/12/29/22857483/suicide-youth-death-public-health-epidemic-surgeon-general-report-mental-health-editorial
HCPLive. (2020). The Opioid Waves [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y5vmyPchk8
JED. (2022). Preventing Suicide: Know the Warning Signs and How to Help | JED. Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://jedfoundation.org/resource/preventing-suicide-know-the-warning-sides-and-how-to-help/
NSC. (2019). For the First Time, We’re More Likely to Die from Accidental Opioid Overdose than Motor Vehicle Crash – National Safety Council. Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://www.nsc.org/in-the-newsroom/for-the-first-time-were-more-likely-to-die-from-accidental-opioid-overdose-than-motor-vehicle-crash