Opioids Now More Deadly for Americans Than Traffic Accidents

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Preventable injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Preventable injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

(HealthDay News) -- 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 1 in 96 compared with a 1-in-103 risk of 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 US 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 1 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 2 leading causes of death. Of the 3 leading causes of death, preventable injuries were the only category with an increase in 2017. A person's lifetime risk of dying from any preventable, accidental cause is 1 in 25 compared with 1 in 30 in 2004.

Other new data in the report show that bicycle deaths rose 28% 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.

References

For the First Time, We're More Likely to Die From Accidental Opioid Overdose Than Motor Vehicle Crash. National Safety Council; January 14, 2019.
National Safety Council Injury Facts. Accessed at https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/

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