CDC: Injuries cost society nearly $700 billion

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Atlanta – Fatal and nonfatal injuries cost the United States $671 billion in 2013, according to two reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The reports, published Oct. 2 in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, concluded that fatal injuries cost $214 billion and nonfatal injuries cost $456.9 billion. The amounts come from lifetime medical and work-loss costs, and were estimated using multiple surveys.

More than half of the fatal injury costs stemmed from unintentional injuries, followed by suicide and homicide. Prescription drug overdoses and other drug poisonings accounted for about one-quarter of all fatal injury costs, and the rate of poisoning deaths doubled between 1999 and 2013.

Most nonfatal injuries treated in the emergency department resulted in hospitalization, with unintentional injuries responsible for the majority of the costs. For all emergency department-treated nonfatal injuries, 37 percent of costs were associated with falls and about one-fifth were from transportation-related injuries.

“The magnitude of costs associated with injury underscores the need for effective prevention,” Deb Houry, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a press release. “Communities and states must increase efforts to implement evidence-based programs and policies to prevent injuries and violence to reduce not only the pain and suffering of people, but the considerable costs to society.”