The total cost of injuries and violence in the U.S. was $671 billion in 2013, according to two Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports released Sept. 30 by the CDC.

OT_News-01The cost associated with fatal injuries was $214 billion; nonfatal injuries cost $457 billion. Each year, more than 3 million people are hospitalized, 27 million people are treated in EDs and released, and more than 192,000 die as a result of unintentional and violence-related injuries.

“Injuries cost Americans far too much money, suffering and preventable death,” CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “The doubling of deaths by drug poisoning, including prescription drug overdose and heroin, is particularly alarming.”

The two studies include lifetime medical and work-loss costs for injury-related deaths and injuries treated in hospitals and EDs and break down costs by age, gender and injury intent. Other key findings include:

  • Males accounted for a majority (78%) of costs for injury deaths ($166.7 billion) and nonfatal injury costs (63%; $287.5 billion).
  • More than half of the total medical and work-loss costs of injury deaths were from unintentional injuries ($129.7 billion), followed by suicide ($50.8 billion) and homicide ($26.4 billion).
  • Drug poisonings, which include prescription drug overdoses, accounted for the largest share of fatal injury costs (27%), followed by transportation-related deaths (23%) and firearm-related deaths (22%).
  • The cost for hospitalized injuries was $289.7 billion in 2013; the cost for injuries treated and released in hospitals and EDs was $167.1 billion.
  • Falls (37%) and transportation-related injuries (21%) accounted for a majority of the costs associated with ED-treated nonfatal injuries.

Falls were the fifth-leading cause of fatal injury costs in 2013, the authors wrote, adding “effective prevention of fall injuries, such as strength and balancing exercises for older adults” could help reduce these costs.

“The magnitude of costs associated with injury underscores the need for effective prevention,” Deb Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in the release. “Communities and states must increase efforts to implement evidence-based programs and policies to prevent injuries and violence to reduce not only the pain and suffering of people, but the considerable costs to society.”

Full report on fatal injuries: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6438a4.htm?s_cid=mm6438a4_w

Full report on nonfatal injuries: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6438a5.htm?s_cid=mm6438a5_w