Opioid overdose driver in accidental death increase in PA

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FILE – This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Opioid overdose was the main cause of the number of accidental deaths in Pennsylvania to rise by 15 percent in one year.

According to the National Safety Council, 1,086 more Pennsylvanians died accidentally in 2016. This is a 15 percent increase from the number of Pennsylvanians that died accidentally in 2015. According to the data, 78 percent of the deaths were due opioid overdose.

The National Safety Council will be doing a nationwide tour with an exhibit the memorialize the victims of the opioid epidemic. The exhibit, ‘Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis,’ will make its first stop in Pittsburgh on Jan. 30.

The exhibit includes a memorial wall made of 22,000 small white pills – each carved with a human face representing the number people that died of a prescription overdose in 2015.

There will also be components of the Council’s Stop Everyday Killers campaign, which helps educate people on prescription opioids.

“The Stop Everyday Killers campaign brings people face to face with the crisis that has taken far too many friends and family members in Pennsylvania,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, in a release. “One in four has been directly impacted by opioids, but we all can play a role in saving lives. The memorial encourages consumers to do two simple things: talk with their health care providers about opioids and clean out their medicine cabinets.”

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