NSC: Odds of dying from an opioid overdose now greater than in a crash

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Itasca, IL — For the first time on record, the odds of dying from an unintentional opioid overdose in a given lifetime – 1 in 96 – are greater than the lifetime odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash – 1 in 103, according to a new analysis from the National Safety Council. The council unveiled the analysis on Injury Facts, its online statistical data resource.

The analysis also shows that falls – the third leading cause of preventable death behind drug overdoses and motor vehicle crashes – are more likely to kill someone than before. The lifetime odds of dying as a result of a fall are 1 in 114.

“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,” Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at NSC, said in a Jan. 14 press release. “We cannot be complacent about 466 lives lost every day. This new analysis reinforces that we must consistently prioritize safety at work, at home and on the road to prevent these dire outcomes.”

Preventable injuries are the third leading cause of death, killing a record 169,936 people in 2017 and trailing only heart disease and cancer. Of the three, only preventable injuries increased in 2017, NSC states, citing data issued by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in December. The lifetime odds of dying from any preventable, unintentional cause are 1 in 25 – a change from 1 in 30 in 2004.