FOR THE FIRST TIME IN the nation’s history, the odds of a U.S. citizen dying from an opioid overdose are higher than those of dying in a car crash, according to a new preventable injury and death report.
The National Safety Council report used data from the National Center for Health Statistics – Mortality Data for 2017, the 2017 U.S. population and the average life expectancy to approximate the one-year and lifetime odds of someone dying from selected external causes, including heart disease (1 in 6 chance), cancer (1 in 7) and suicide (1 in 88). It determined the lifetime odds dying from an accidental opioid overdose for a person born in 2017 were 1 in 96, while the chances of that same person dying from a motor vehicle crash were 1 in 103.
“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl,” the nonprofit said in a statement released Monday.
Meanwhile, the report finds, dying from a cause associated with a common fear, such as being struck by lightning or in a plane crash, are extremely low – 1 in 218,106 and 1 in 188,364, respectively – while the probability of dying from a fall is much more likely, at 1 in 114.
Overall, there was a 5.3 percent year-over-year increase in preventable, injury-related deaths between 2016 and 2017, according to the report. Further, the number of nonfatal, preventable injuries reached 47.2 million, with 1 in 7 seeking medical attention.