Opioids Now More Deadly for Americans Than Traffic Accidents

TUESDAY, Jan. 15, 2019 — For the first time in history, Americans’ risk for dying from an opioid overdose is higher than their risk for dying in a car accident, the National Safety Council reported Monday.

The chances of dying from an accidental opioid overdose in the United States are now one in 96 compared with a one-in-103 risk for dying in a traffic accident, according to the new analysis of preventable deaths in the council’s Injury Facts publication. The opioid crisis is the reason why opioid overdoses are now at the top of the list, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl.

The analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data also shows that falls are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, with a lifetime risk of one in 114, an increase from one in 119 a few years ago. Preventable injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 169,936 lives in 2017. Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death. Of the three leading causes of death, preventable injuries were the only category with an increase in 2017. A person’s lifetime risk for dying from any preventable, accidental cause is one in 25 compared with one in 30 in 2004.

Other new data in the report show that bicycle deaths rose 28 percent in 2016; sports and recreational injuries disproportionately affect youngsters aged 5 to 14 years old; most fatal falls occur in December and January; men are more likely than women to die from preventable causes; and preventable deaths far outnumber intentional deaths.

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Injury Facts

Posted: January 2019

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