NSC releases list of top states with lowest, highest rates of preventable deaths

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Itasca, IL — California has the lowest rate of preventable death – 35 per 100,000 residents – while West Virginia has the highest, at 104.2, according to an annual list compiled by the National Safety Council.

Released June 26, the list ranks the states with the lowest and highest rates of unintentional, preventable deaths, which include poisonings – largely from drug overdoses – motor vehicle-related crashes and falls.

Preventable injuries – what most people consider “accidents” – are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Poisoning is the leading cause of preventable death in all 10 states with the highest mortality rates, and in five of the states with the lowest rates – a reminder of the national impact of the drug crisis. For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an unintentional opioid overdose than a motor vehicle crash.

“Someone dies every three minutes in the United States because of something we know how to prevent,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said in a June 26 press release. “Understanding the leading causes of preventable death in your state allows you to advocate for better policies and protections, so all residents can lead their best, fullest lives.”