Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Opioid overdoses top motor vehicle crashes as cause of preventable death

A heroin addict prepares a dose for himself in Humacao Puerto Rico. Heroin accounted for the second highest number of Americans more likely to die from opioid overdose than in a car accident
Anna Jefferson | 17 January, 2019, 16:16

Americans are more likely to die from a drug overdose than in a vehicle crash for the first time in US history, according to a new report from the National Safety Council.

The opioid epidemic has drawn the attention of federal and state lawmakers seeking solutions.

Heart disease is still the most likely cause of death (1 in 6) with cancer second most likely (1 in 7), followed by chronic lower respiratory disease (1 in 27) and suicide (1 in 88) before you get to opioid overdose and vehicle crash.

The NSC estimated that Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose, versus a 1 in 103 chance of dying from a auto crash. "Many people realize it's happening, but far too many still don't realize it could happen to them or that it does impact them".

He said data show the opposite is true. "But when it comes to everyday, routine activities, the odds are not in our favor". The NSC highlights, nonetheless, that the chances given are statistical standards over the whole USA population and do not always mirror the opportunities of death for a particular person from a specific outside reason.

Also, they are lifetime probabilities, based on splitting the 1-year chances by the life expectancy of an individual birth in 2017.

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Life expectancy in the United States declined in 2017, the CDC says because of drug overdose and suicide.

Nationally, there were almost 170,000 preventable-injury deaths in 2017 - a 5 percent increase from 2016. The NSC added "Deaths by Transportation Mode", "Poisonings", "Older Adult Falls" and "Fire-Related Fatalities and Injuries" to its list to broaden public awareness. One study also found that an expanding number of kids and teens in the United States of America are passing away from opioid poisonings.

The data on opioids is troubling.

The lifetime odds of dying from an opioid overdose now stands at 1 in 96.

The National Safety Council recommends a number of steps for tackling the problem of opioid misuse: increasing access to addiction treatment; making naloxone (also known as Narcan), a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, more readily available; and increasing training in pain-management for opioid prescribers.

In fact, there were 70,237 deaths from drug overdoses in 2017 alone, which was a 9.6% increase from the year prior, the CDC said.

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