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Fatal Statistics That Could Be Lessened With Cannabis


To many Kentuckians die from alcohol related crashes and opioid overdoses every year. What if some of those people had the choice to use cannabis instead? How many would be alive today? Below are two articles which give sobering facts concerning deaths related to drunk-driving and opioid abuse.

https://www.geoffreygnathanlaw.com/national-drunk-driving-statistics/

Drunk Driving By the Numbers

If you ever have thought about drinking and driving, hopefully the statistics detailed below will make you think twice.

  • In 2016, 10,497 people were killed in DUI crashes, and 290,000 were injured.

  • Every day, approximately 800 people in the United States are injured in a drunk driving accident.

  • Someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes.

  • About 25% of car accidents with teenagers involve an underage drinking driver.

  • In 2014, 16% of all drivers who were in fatal accidents during the week were intoxicated, compared to 29% on Friday and Saturday night.

  • In the US, the number of DUI deaths has been cut by 50% since 1980, largely through driver education and public service announcements.

  • 57% of drivers who were fatally injured had alcohol or drugs in their system and 17% had both.

  • Two out of three people on average in the US will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lives.

  • In 2014, 10 million Americans reported driving under the influence of illegal drugs in the last year.

  • Americans drank too much and drove 121 million times in the last year. This is more than 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day.

  • In fatal car accidents in 2014, the largest percentage of drunk drivers were those from 21 to 24, 30% of all accidents.

  • Drunk driving in fatal accidents in 2014 was four times higher at night than during the day time - 34% vs. 9%.

  • Drunk driving costs each American adult at least $500 per year.

According to the CDC, drivers from 21 to 24 are the most likely to drink and drive. Generally, younger drivers are more likely to take risks with drinking and driving because the young tend to think that nothing bad can happen to them.

However, the CDC also finds that the percentage of high school teenagers who drink and drive has dropped by 51% since 1991. Still, almost one million high school teenagers drank and drove in 2011. Teen drivers are still more likely than adult drivers to be in a fatal DUI accident.

Also, 85% of teenagers in high school who reported drinking and driving in the past 30 days also reported that they binge drink; this is defined as having five or more alcoholic beverages in two hours. And, one in five teen drivers involved in fatal accidents had at least some alcohol in their system in 2010. More than 80% of these drivers had a BAC that was higher than the legal limit for adults.

Drunk Driving Statistics

Alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes in 2017.

Alcohol-impaired crashes are those that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or above, the legal definition of impaired driving. According to NHTSA 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2017. Alcohol-impaired crash fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all crash fatalities.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates 1,017,808 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2016. The arrest rate works out to one arrest for about every 215 licensed drivers in the United States.

The definition of alcohol-impaired driving was consistent throughout the United States until December 2018. All states and the District of Columbia except Utah define impairment as driving with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) at or above 0.08 grams per deciliter. In Utah, the BAC limit was lowered to 0.05 in December 2018. In addition, they all have zero tolerance laws prohibiting drivers under the age of 21 from drinking and driving. Generally the BAC in these cases is 0.02 grams per deciliter.

Campaigns against alcohol-impaired driving especially target drivers under the age of 21, repeat offenders and 21-to 34-year-olds, the age group that is responsible for more alcohol-related fatal crashes than any other. Young drivers are those least responsive to arguments against impaired driving, according to NHTSA.

To make sellers and servers of liquor more careful about to whom and how they serve drinks, 42 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or have case law holding commercial liquor servers legally liable for the damage, injuries and deaths an alcohol-impaired driver causes. Thirty-nine states have enacted laws or have case law that permit social hosts who serve liquor to people who subsequently are involved in crashes to be held liable for any injury or death.

Opioid Overdoses By the Numbers

Research sites: https://www.unmc.edu/cce/handouts/opioid/OpioidMasterList-CompleteDoc.pdf

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

Kentucky is among the top ten states with the highest opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2016, there were 989 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Kentucky—a rate of 23.6 deaths per 100,000 persons and nearly double the national rate. Since 2012, overdose deaths related to heroin have increased from 143 to 311 and deaths related to synthetic opioids have increased from 70 to 465.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Kentucky providers wrote 97.0 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4.47 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average U.S. rate was 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (IMS Health, 2016).

Nationally, opioids accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. States with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths that year were West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://odcp.ky.gov/Documents/2017%20Kentucky%20Overdose%20Fatality%20Report%20%28final1%29.pdf

2017 Overdose Fatality Report KENTUCKY OFFICE OF DRUG CONTROL POLICY

Highlights of the 2017 findings include1 : Kentucky overdose fatalities increased in 2017. Overdose deaths of Kentucky residents, regardless of where the death occurred, and non-residents who died in Kentucky, totaled 1,565 as reported to the Office of Vital Statistics in June 2018. Of those, 1,468 were Kentucky residents2 . That’s compared to 1,404 overdose deaths counted in the 2016 report. Within the 1,565 overdose deaths, toxicology was available for 1,468 of those. A review of cases autopsied by the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office and toxicology reports submitted by coroners indicates that in 2017:

· People ages 35 to 44 were the largest demographic in overdose deaths. Followed by 45 to 54.

· Autopsies and toxicology reports from coroners show that approximately 22 percent of overdose deaths involved the use of heroin in 2017, down from 34 percent in 2016.

· Fentanyl was involved in 763 Kentucky resident overdose deaths. That accounts for 52 percent of all deaths, up from 47 percent in 2016.

· Jefferson County had the most overdose deaths of any county with 426, up from 364 in the 2016 report.

· The largest increase in overdose fatalities occurred in Jefferson County, where deaths increased by 62, from 364 deaths in 2016. Other counties with significant increases include Fayette County by 49, Campbell County by 26, and Kenton County by 17.

· The largest decrease occurred in Madison County, which had 9 fewer fatalities in 2017 compared to the previous year. Other counties with significant declines include Bell County, which declined by 10; and Knox County, which declined by 8. Breathitt and Scott Counties declined by 6.

· Morphine was detected in 627 cases and Monoacetylmorphine (heroin) in 327.

· Alprazolam was detected in approximately 36 percent of cases; gabapentin, 31 percent; methamphetamine, 29 percent (a 57 percent increase); oxycodone, 14 percent (a 6 percent decline); hydrocodone, 14 percent (a 2 percent decline). 1 This report was compiled by the most current data supplied by KIPRC and will change as additional toxicology reports are submitted

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