(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)
If you read the news nowadays then you would probably believe that gun homicides are the leading cause of injury death in the country. But you’d be wrong because as CNSNews.com pointed out using the latest data from the Drug Enforcement Agency, drug overdoses account for more injury deaths than car crashes or firearms.
The DEA’s report shows that 46,471 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in 2013 and more than half of those deaths were caused by heroin and prescription painkillers. This is compared to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention count of 35,369 who died in motor vehicle crashes and 33,636 who died from firearms.
“Sadly this report confirms what we’ve known for some time: drug abuse is ending too many lives while destroying families and communities,” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said after the release of the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment report.
The DEA ranks controlled prescription drugs and heroin as the most significant drug threats and marijuana concentrates as an “issue of growing concern.”
“We must stop drug abuse before it begins by teaching young people at an even earlier age about its many dangers and horrors,” said Rosenberg.
The National Drug Threat Assessment also states that “Mexican gangs remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States” and that these gangs are “relocating from major metropolitan areas to establish bases of operation in suburban or rural areas.”
This report comes at a time when there is growing acceptance for the use of medical and recreational marijuana. Currently 23 states and Washington, D.C., allow the use of marijuana for these purposes.
These sentiments are mirrored by growing animosity for firearms from groups like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, who fight to expand gun control and limit Second Amendment rights.
However a closer look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 data (table 10) gives us a glimpse into another data gap that gun control groups are more likely to brush aside:
Assault (homicide) by discharge of firearms only accounts for 11,208 of the 33,636 total firearm deaths with Intentional self-harm (suicide) by discharge of firearms far outpacing homicide with 21,175 deaths.
To reiterate: people are nearly twice as likely to commit suicide with a firearm than be killed with one, and four times more likely to overdose on drugs.
The data clearly shows that the country isn’t facing a gun epidemic, as the media insists, but a mental health epidemic and a drug-dependency epidemic.
That said, what do you think? Is it fair to compare overdoses to firearm deaths?