Americans more likely to die of opioid overdose than car crash: report
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For the first time ever, Americans’ odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are higher than from a motor vehicle crash, a data analysis finds.
An analysis from the non-profit group National Safety Council, called Injury Facts, found the lifetime odds of dying by an accidental opioid overdose were 1 in 96, while the odds of dying by 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,” read a statement from the NSC published Monday.
The estimates used in the NSC analysis are based on 2017 mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The opioid epidemic has drawn the attention of federal and state lawmakers seeking solutions. In the most recent example of its impact, police in Chico, Calif., said one person died and more than a dozen people were sent to hospitals following a mass drug overdose at a home, reports CNN. Authorities said they suspect fentanyl in that case.
More than 49,000 people died due to opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Last fall, the Senate passed legislation to combat the opioid crisis.
During an interview with USA TODAY in October, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said the agency will fund longer-lasting treatments for people addicted to opioids, as well as develop nonaddictive therapies for people dealing with pain.
“Any idea that this is just willpower and you ought to be able to get over it is completely contrary to what we know on the basis of strongest medical evidence,” said Collins.
In a study published in December by the Journal of the American Medical Association, almost 9,000 children and teens died from opioid poisoning between 1999 and 2016.
The National Safety Council’s analysis also found the odds of dying from a fall are 1 in 114, up from 1 in 119 a year ago.
“We’ve made significant strides in overall longevity in the United States, but we are dying from things typically called accidents at rates we haven’t seen in half a century,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council, in a statement.
In 2017, more than 169,000 preventable deaths were reported, up 5.3 percent from 2016, says the council.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.