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Study: Ohioans lost 500k years of life due to gun deaths in last decade

A new Ohio study found that nearly 500,000 years of life have been lost over the past decade from firearm fatalities (Source: “Half-a-million years of Ohioans’ life expectancy lost to gun deaths,” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 9, 2019).

The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health report was released Friday with the goal of showing “the real-world impact of some of our most significant public health issues,” said Randy Leite, dean of the Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University.

The college and University of Toledo’s College of Health and Human Services established the alliance in 2017 to study some of the state’s most pressing health problems, including drug overdoses and suicides.

The latest report analyzed the 13,001 deaths from firearms between 2009 and 2018, subtracting the age of death from life expectancy based on projections from the Social Security Administration, to calculate 484,122 years lost.

In 2009, 1,087 Ohioans died from firearms, resulting in 41,161 years of life lost. There had been a steady increase in both numbers nearly every year, peaking in 2017 with 1,561 deaths and 59,515 years lost before falling slightly last year. The deaths were not exclusive to criminal activity. Suicide accounted for half of the total years of life lost, followed by homicide and accidental death.

Ohio’s urban areas had the highest number of years lost during the past decade, led by Cuyahoga County (71,261), Franklin County (68,382) and Hamilton County (47,545). Adams County in southern Ohio had the highest rate of firearm fatalities in the state, with more than 20 for every 100,000 residents.