Data Tracker

More Californians now die from drug overdoses than from car wrecks

By Phillip Reese -

About one Californian dies from an accidental drug overdose, on average, every three hours.

From 2008 to 2012, about 15,725 Californians died following an overdose, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Public Health. By comparison, about 14,860 Californians died in car wrecks during that period.

The number of fatal drug overdoses has increased sharply -- about 35 percent -- in the state during the last decade. Much of the rise, experts and advocates say, is due to increasing abuse of prescription painkillers.

Death rates from accidental overdoses are particularly high in Northern California, especially in the far rural north.

These charts show the death rates from overdoses in California during the last decade.

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Source: California Department of Public Health

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