Washington: drug deaths outnumber traffic fatalities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington: drug deaths outnumber traffic fatalities

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  • Washington 'a phenomenon' for pharmacy robberies

    Washington 'a phenomenon' for pharmacy robberies

    Monday, August 31 2009 8:46 PM EDT2009-09-01 00:46:00 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Following numerous Walgreens robberies in which the popular painkiller Oxycontin was targeted, the pharmacy has installed time-lock security cabinets in all of its pharmacies across Washington State. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Following numerous Walgreens robberies in which the popular painkiller Oxycontin was targeted, the pharmacy has installed time-lock security cabinets in all of its pharmacies across Washington State. Robert Elfinger, with Walgreens Media Relations, says that pharmacy robberies are 'a phenomenon in Washington' in that the state only has 120 to 130 Walgreens' pharmacies, but sees many more robberies than Texas, a state with more than 600 pharmacies.>>

OLYMPIA, Wash.- In Washington, and 15 other states, drugs now kill more people than auto accidents do. That's according to a new government study that looked at death certificates from the last three years. Experts say the startling shift reflects two opposite trends: Driving is becoming safer, and the legal and illegal use of powerful prescription painkillers is on the rise.

For decades, traffic accidents have been the biggest cause of injury-related death in the U.S., and they are still No. 1. But drug overdoses are pulling ahead in one state after another. The drug-related death rate roughly doubled from the late 1990s to 2006, according to the most recent CDC data. 

The number of states in which drug-related deaths have overtaken traffic fatalities has gone from eight in 2003 to 12 in 2005, and 16 in 2006. They are: Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. 

It's not clear why those states have seen such a shift, but experts said certain drugs may be more of a problem in some states than in others. While cocaine and heroin continue to be significant killers, most of the increase is attributed to prescription opiates such as the painkillers methadone, Oxycontin and Vicodin. 

From 1999 to 2006, death rates for such medications climbed for every age group. Deaths from methadone alone increased sevenfold, according to the CDC. It's not all black market stuff, either. About half of the opiate medication deaths in King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, involved people who got their drugs through legal prescriptions, said Caleb Banta-Green, a University of Washington research scientist. 

Using death certificate data, CDC researchers counted more than 45,000 U.S. deaths nationwide from traffic accidents in 2006, and about 39,000 from drug-induced causes.
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  • 2 stabbed to death, 1 injured on Portland train by man hurling racial slurs

    2 stabbed to death, 1 injured on Portland train by man hurling racial slurs

    Saturday, May 27 2017 11:29 AM EDT2017-05-27 15:29:58 GMT

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police in Oregon say two people died and another was hurt in a stabbing on a Portland light-rail train after a man yelled racial slurs at two young Muslim women. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports officers arrested a man Friday afternoon who ran from the train.  Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson says the assailant on the train was ranting on many topics, using "hate speech or biased language," and turned his focus on the women.

    >>

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police in Oregon say two people died and another was hurt in a stabbing on a Portland light-rail train after a man yelled racial slurs at two young Muslim women. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports officers arrested a man Friday afternoon who ran from the train.  Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson says the assailant on the train was ranting on many topics, using "hate speech or biased language," and turned his focus on the women.

    >>
  • Post Falls Officer pulls over little girl in power wheels Jeep

    Post Falls Officer pulls over little girl in power wheels Jeep

    Friday, May 26 2017 10:03 PM EDT2017-05-27 02:03:49 GMT

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Hometown Heroes. Every week, we highlight someone who works in public safety for all the good work they do. Tonight is a bit of a change from the typical Hometown Hero. It's the story of a little girl who suddenly became public enemy number one. Pat Eismann was patrolling the area in Post Falls when he noticed something a bit out of the ordinary. "I saw a little girl driving a power wheels jeep down the street," Officer Eismann said....

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Hometown Heroes. Every week, we highlight someone who works in public safety for all the good work they do. Tonight is a bit of a change from the typical Hometown Hero. It's the story of a little girl who suddenly became public enemy number one. Pat Eismann was patrolling the area in Post Falls when he noticed something a bit out of the ordinary. "I saw a little girl driving a power wheels jeep down the street," Officer Eismann said....

    >>
  • Police: Woman locked her kids in car trunk while she shopped

    Police: Woman locked her kids in car trunk while she shopped

    Saturday, May 27 2017 4:26 PM EDT2017-05-27 20:26:48 GMT

    RIVERDALE, Utah (AP) - A 39-year-old Utah woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her two young children in her car's trunk while she went inside a Wal-Mart store to shop. Riverdale police say witnesses heard the children ages 2 and 5 making noise and saw the car shaking, got the older child to pull the emergency latch and called 911.

    >>

    RIVERDALE, Utah (AP) - A 39-year-old Utah woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her two young children in her car's trunk while she went inside a Wal-Mart store to shop. Riverdale police say witnesses heard the children ages 2 and 5 making noise and saw the car shaking, got the older child to pull the emergency latch and called 911.

    >>
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