is no accident, live injury free.
Injuries have a
negative impact on Ohio’s health and on Ohioans pocketbooks. In
one year, Ohioans spend $1.5 billion on medical costs related to
injuries and $28.4 billion on work loss and quality of life loss related
to injuries. In addition to costing our state billions, unintentional
injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for Ohioans ages
1 through 44 and the fifth-leading cause of death for all Ohioans. Non-fatal
injuries and violence also lead to an average of eight hospitalizations
per hour and three emergency department visits every minute in
only takes a moment for an injury to happen-a fall on a stair, a
moment’s glance away from the road, a biking or sports-related injury
or a medication mix-up. This year, during National
Public Health Week (April 4-11), it’s important to remember that
safety is no accident. We can prevent
injuries from happening by taking small actions. For example
wearing a seatbelt, properly installing and using child safety seats,
wearing a helmet and using prescription medications only as they are
prescribed are important ways to proactively promote safety and prevent
Over the past ten years, the overall number of
injury-related deaths in Ohio has increased by 44 percent.*
ODH is working to address this issue is in many ways.
Through the Violence and Injury Prevention program, ODH funds
community-based injury prevention programs in nine counties to address
falls among older adults, child injury and prescription drug overdose.
ODH also has a statewide child passenger safety program, providing car
seats to low income families in all 88 counties.
In addition, we have created a statewide
public-private action group called the Ohio Injury Prevention
Partnership (OIPP). Through the OIPP, we are building Ohio’s
capacity to help every Ohioan live his or her life to its fullest
potential by reducing death and disability associated with intentional
and unintentional injury. The work of the OIPP is critical to
reversing the impact of injury on our state. One focus area
of the OIPP is unintentional drug overdoses, which surpassed motor
vehicle traffic and suicide as the overall leading cause of injury death
in Ohio in 2007 and continued in 2008.
An average of four Ohioans die each day from
unintentional drug overdoses and prescription drugs are associated with
more of these deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. In addition
to the impact on communities and families, these preventable deaths cost
our state an estimated $3.5 billion each year. ODH, in
coordination with our federal, state and local partners, has and will
continue to work to raise awareness and educate the public about the
state’s overdose epidemic.
drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death, there are many
other injuries that impact the well being of our state. Falls are
the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization for older
adults. Many older adults believe that experiencing a fall
is a natural part of the aging process. It’s not, you can prevent
falls by removing environmental hazards, having your eyes checked
regularly and increasing your physical activity.
suffocations, motor vehicle crashes and falls are some of the leading
causes of hospitalizations and death. These can be prevented by
providing a safe sleep area for your child, ensuring child safety seats
are properly installed and that your child wears a helmet when
participating in wheeled sports.
For teens and young
adults – ages 15 – 24 – motor vehicle crashes are the leading
causes of death and hospitalizations. But these crashes can be prevented
by ensuring your teens know safe driving rules, including not driving
while distracted or while texting.
By following these
tips, you can live injury-free in all areas of life: at work, at home,
at play, in your community and anywhere people are on the move. For more
information or additional safety tips please visit www.odh.ohio.gov
and click on public health week.
the Office of Public Affairs at (614) 644-8562 if you have questions.
Ted Wymyslo, M.D.
is director of the Ohio Department of Health.
*Data are from
1999-2008. 2008 is the most recent year complete data are available.