The National Safety Council says that a opioid-related overdose has now surpassed motor-vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death.
The news comes from the NSC’s new report on preventable death which shows Americans have a 1 in 96 chance of an opioid overdose compared to 1 in 103 chance of a car crash.
“Together, we will face this challenge as a national family with conviction, with unity, and with a commitment to love and support our neighbors in times of dire need. Working together, we will defeat this opioid epidemic.” – President Donald Trump
The organization came to the conclusion by analyzing data on American deaths from 2017. A sudden increase in opioid-related deaths began in 2013 and 2015.
In December, the NSC announced that fentanyl has replaced Heroin as the most frequent drug involved in overdoses. Oxycontin preceded heroin as the leading cause of overdose.
In fact, the CDC has reported that total fentanyl-related deaths shockingly doubled each year from 2013 to 2016.
Upon entering the market around 2012, the chemical was suspected in less than 2,000 drug overdose deaths. By 2016, that number was north of 18,000 deaths. In more than two-thirds of those cases, one or more drugs were also detected. This may be due to users mixing drugs but also likely that the content was not pure and instead mixed or “cut” with other substances.
To make matters worse, some analysts claim that opioid-related deaths may be under-reported by as much as 20 to 35 percent due to omissions on death certificates.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 2016 saw more than 42,000 people die from opioid overdoses. However, that data is only as good as efficiently as the states submit it.
That can be a problem because medical examiners often don’t specify the drug responsible for the overdose. Uniformity of standards among the states could help with this problem.
Overall, drug overdoses of all types have more than tripled since the late 1990s from roughly 19,000 to more than 55,000.
In 2017, President Trump officially declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency.
Below is a table composed of the most recent data from the NSC report:
|Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 2017|
|Cause of Death||Odds of Dying|
|Heart Disease||1 in 6|
|Cancer||1 in 7|
|Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease||1 in 27|
|Suicide||1 in 88|
|Opioid overdose||1 in 96|
|Motor Vehicle Crash||1 in 103|
|Fall||1 in 114|
|Gun Assault||1 in 285|
|Pedestrian Incident||1 in 556|
|Motorcyclist||1 in 858|
|Drowning||1 in 1,117|
|Fire or Smoke||1 in 1,474|
|Choking on Food||1 in 2,696|
|Bicyclist||1 in 4,047|
|Accidental Gun Discharge||1 in 8,527|
|Sunstroke||1 in 8,912|
|Electrocution, Radiation, Extreme Temperatures and Pressure||1 in 15,638|
|Sharp objects||1 in 28,000|
|Cataclysmic Storm||1 in 31,394|
|Hot surfaces and substances||1 in 46,045|
|Hornet, wasp and bee stings||1 in 46,562|
|Dog attack||1 in 115,111|
|Passenger on an airplane||1 in 188,364|
|Lightning||1 in 218,106|
|Railway passenger||1 in 243,765|