A new study from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that “self-injury” — a category which includes deaths from drug overdose, alcohol consumption, and suicide — is now the seventh leading cause of death among Americans, quickly outpacing deaths from diseases like diabetes.
ABC News reports that researchers at the CDC used available data on drug overdoses, suicides, and deaths from diseases and accidents related to alcohol consumption to determine that approximately “29.1 people per 100,000 died from self injury,” compared to “24.8 per 100,000 from diabetes.”
The CDC notes that it’s also possible that number is low. Deaths from self-injury often go unreported or are reported as deaths from accidents (particularly where drug use or alcohol is a contributing factor to an accidental death but a person dies from other injuries).
Last year, around 72,000 people died from drug overdoses alone, the highest number of deaths since the CDC began recording deaths from OD. The 2018 numbers are expected to shatter that record.
Experts quoted in the CDC’s press release added that resources for self-inflicted injury lag far behind resources available to disease sufferers, and that lack of information could be a contributing factor to the increase in deaths.