Overdose deaths double those from car crashes in Washington

SEATTLE, Wa — You hear it nearly everyday.

Overdoses death rates are the highest they’ve ever been. And they’re only going up.

The comparisons are startling. Drug overdoses killed more Americans in one year than the entire Vietnam War. Overdoses are the leading cause of death for anyone under 50 years old. And more Americans are killed from drug overdoses than car crashes.

This is certainly true in Western Washington.

According to data released by the Washington State Department of Health, overdose deaths double the number of car crash deaths. In 2015, 1,196 drug-induced deaths were reported in Washington state. That's in comparison to 592 car crash deaths.

The numbers in each county are stark:

Traffic Deaths:

  • Pierce – 87
  • Snohomish – 60
  • King – 117
  • Kitsap - 18
  • Thurston - 15
  • Skagit - 10

Drug Induced Deaths:

  • Pierce - 160
  • Snohomish - 146
  • King - 303
  • Kitsap - 49
  • Thurston - 39
  • Skagit - 27

A summit tackling the ongoing opioid epidemic in the state finished Friday in Everett.

The goal of organizers was to find ways to combat the widespread epidemic of opioid abuse, a health crisis as far-reaching as it is complicated to solve.

"Opioids are devastating Washington families and communities, and overwhelming our safety nets," Ferguson said. "This summit will bring together key stakeholders to identify next steps and solutions to this epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington is the only Western state that is saw a statistically significant increase in drug overdose death rates between 2014 and 2015.