Overdose now #1 cause of accidental death in St. Joseph County

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WNDU on June 15, 2015 by Mark Peterson

The apparent overdose deaths of two teens in Granger are tragic—but not uncommon.

In fact, the overdose is now the single most common cause for accidental death in St. Joseph County.

“Drug overdose deaths are actually more prevalent than motor vehicle deaths in this county and this is certainly disconcerting from a public health standpoint. There are things we can do about that,” said Dale Deardorff, M.D., St. Joseph County Health Officer.

Traffic crashes have traditionally been the top cause of accidental death but the tables in St. Joseph County first turned in 2010 when 26 overdose deaths were recorded compared to 21 traffic fatalities.

Since then, the overdose has been the most common cause of accidental death in three of the past six years, and it was the top cause of death in 2014 when it claimed 42 lives compared to the 40 lost in vehicle crashes.

Over the past five years, drug overdose deaths are up 62 percent from 26 in 2010.