MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Haegerich: In the first three decades of life, more people in the US die from injuries and violence than from any other cause. Approximately 60% of fatal injuries are unintentional (for example, from motor vehicle crashes, drug overdose, and falls), 20% are due to suicide, and 20% are due to homicide. Injuries and violence have been linked to a wide range of physical, mental health, and reproductive health problems, and chronic diseases. They take an enormous economic toll, including the cost of medical care and lost productivity. Importantly, injuries and violence are preventable through education, behavior change, policy, engineering, and environmental supports. For example, laws that promote the use of seat belts and child safety seats, and prevent drunk driving, can reduce motor-vehicle-related injuries. Early childhood home visitation, school-based programs, and therapeutic foster care are examples of evidence-based approaches to preventing violence. Improving proper prescribing of painkillers and access to treatment for substance misuse could prevent prescription drug overdoses. Improvements are possible by framing injuries and violence as preventable, identifying interventions that are cost-effective and based on research, providing information to decision makers, and strengthening the capacity of the health care system.