HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii health officials say more people are dying from drug overdoses than car crashes in the state.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports 150 people died of overdoses in 2012 and most were unintentional.
Data released last week by Dan Galanis, the state Department of Health's epidemiologist for its Injury Prevention Program, indicate 773 people died from drug poisonings from 2009 to 2013.
Galanis says the state's second leading cause of death over the five-year period was falls, with 685 victims. Motor vehicle accidents claimed 618 lives.
Hawaii experts say there's a lack of public awareness about how serious drug overdoses have become.
Galanis says overdoses from narcotic painkillers have contributed to the surge as powerful drugs are prescribed to deal with long-term, chronic pain.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The high tide is putting coastal communities on edge.