Fatal injury rates from drug poisonings and guns have spiked over the past decade for children and teens in the United States, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed injury data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2011 to 2021 for children under 18. They found drug poisoning deaths increased by 133.3%, CBS News reports. Nonfatal poison-related injuries also increased 9.9%.
During the same period, the rates of nonfatal injuries among children decreased in several other categories, including a 52.8% decrease in injuries from falls, and a 47.3% decline in motor vehicle occupant injuries.
“Despite the progress in reducing most nonfatal injuries, the trends in increasing nonfatal firearm and poisoning injuries defy the overall trend in nonfatal injuries, in part because public health legislative support has lagged in these critical injury mechanisms,” the researchers wrote. “This is especially concerning given the high case fatality rate of these injury mechanisms in children.”
The study authors called for more research, as well as stronger legislation, enhanced public awareness and improved health care systems to address both fatal and nonfatal injuries among children.