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Opioid-Related Deaths Now More Likely Compared To Motor Vehicle Related Deaths

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The opioid crisis in the United States has surpassed vehicular accidents as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

For the first time in history, Americans have a higher chance of dying from opioid overdose than in a car crash.

The National Safety Council has issued a report that details the growing problem of opioid across the country. The council pulled the estimates base on data collated by the National Center for Health Statistics - Mortality Data for 2017.

Leading Causes Of Death In 2017

In a table published by the National Safety Council's Injury Facts, opioid overdose was listed as the fifth cause of death in the United States in 2017. It trails behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and suicide.

According to the estimates, Americans have 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose. In comparison, the probability of dying from a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 103.

The rise of deaths due to opioid overdose is troubling and, unfortunately, not surprising. The number of deaths attributed to opioid overdose has been steadily rising for years.

The number of preventable opioid overdose in the country increased 633 percent since 1999. The 25 to 34 age group is most affected with 12,325 deaths alone in 2017.

An estimated 100 people die from opioid every day — many of which are from prescription opioid medicine meant to control extreme pain. In total, more than 37,000 people die from opioid overdose every year in the United States.

"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, the manager of statistics at the National Safety Council.

The data also revealed that an American has a 1 in 114 chance of dying from a fall and 1 in 285 chance of dying because of gun assault.

Fentanyl Problem

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is responsible for the most deaths due to overdose. In 2016, a total of 17,696 people died from overdose — a 106 percent increase from the total of preventable deaths in 2015. Heroin had the second highest number of deaths, claiming 14,606 lives in 2016.

In comparison, 12,101 deaths in 2016 involved morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

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