January 14, 2019
This may or may not be surprising, but reportedly your odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than your chance of dying in a car crash, according to a new preventable death report from the National Safety Council. This is the first time in history that the risk of overdose has outweighed other risks.
According to the report, Americans now have a 1-in-96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on preventable death. The probability of losing one's life in a vehicle crash is 1 in 103, according to the report.
Two medical issues carry the highest odds of dying: heart disease with a 1-in-6 risk and cancer at 1-in-7 risk, according to the report.
It's worth noting that the odds given in the NSC report are statistical averages over the whole U.S. population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular cause. Additionally, they are lifetime odds, based on dividing the one-year odds by the life expectancy of a person born in 2017.
The odds of dying from other events include 1 in 88 for suicide, 1 in 258 for a gun assault and 1 in 218,106 for a lightning strike.
Preventable injury deaths in 2017 increased 5.3 percent from 2016 — to 169,936. However, this jump is a 96-percent increase compared to 1992 data, according to CNN.
"The nation's opioid crisis is fueling the Council's grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl," the council said in a statement released Monday, NPR reports.
According to NPR, now that the likelihood of overdose has been quantified:
The council has recommended tackling the epidemic by increasing pain management training for opioid prescribers, making the potentially-lifesaving drug naloxone more widely available and expanding access to addiction treatment.