Injury Prevention & Control
2009 Position Statement – Ohio Public Health Association
Injury and violence remain major public health problems in Ohio because of the incomparable cost and the disabling and disrupting consequences. They are the leading cause of death for Ohioans aged 1 to 44 and the fifth leading cause of death overall. Injuries, including suicide and homicide, cause more deaths of children and young adults from ages 1 through 44 than all other causes combined, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
The number of injury-related* deaths increased by 37 percent from 4,983 in 1999 to 6,824 in 2006.
All intents (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, homicide) have contributed to the increase; however, unintentional injuries have increased the most (45 percent) during this time.
Among the leading causes of injury death, unintentional poisonings increased from the smallest number of annual deaths in 1999 (369) to the greatest in 2006 (1,308). For the first time, in 2006, unintentional poisoning surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death in Ohio.
Unintentional drug/medication poisoning deaths have been the largest driving force in the overall increase in unintentional injury death rates from 1999 to 2006. Fatal falls have also increased significantly during this time period (75 percent). As the population continues to age, we expect to see growing rates of fatal falls.
The consequences of injury can be far-reaching and severe. Of the millions of Ohioans who survive injuries, many suffer long-term consequences. Injury leads to huge societal costs, amounting to billions of dollars annually in health care expenses, worker compensation claims, lost productivity, rehabilitation and criminal justice system expenses among others. Investment in prevention programs prevents the much higher costs of dealing with these injury consequences.
· Support expansion of public health programs, educational outreach and research activities related to injury prevention.
· Support legislation to reduce/eliminate doctor shopping for prescription medication.
· Strengthen Ohio’s current safety belt law by making it a primary law for all seating positions.
· Support legislation to reduce distracted driving (cell phones, text messaging, etc.)
· Support alcohol and drug-impaired driving countermeasures.
· Maintain and enforce the age-21 legal drinking age. (APHA injury prevention policy: www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/policysearch/default.htm?id=1377)
· Support programs and policies that eliminate the disproportionate burden of injuries and homicides experienced by minority and low income populations.