According to just-released statistics from the National Safety Council, there’s a new No. 1 cause of accidental death in the U.S.
For the first time, a person in the U.S. is more likely to die from accidental opioid overdose than a motor vehicle crash, according to the online NSC publication Injury Facts.
The odds of dying accidentally from an opioid overdose have risen to one in 96. The odds of dying from a vehicle crash are one in 103.
The NSC says the U.S. opioid crisis is fueling this statistic, and that crisis is getting worse because of the influx of illicit fentanyl.
“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, statistics manager at the NSC.
About 466 people die in the U.S. each day due to accidental causes.
Falls, the No. 3 leading cause of preventable death, are more likely to kill someone than ever before. The lifetime odds of dying from an accidental fall are one in 114, up from one in 119 a year ago.
The NSC says Americans should be more concerned about preventable injuries than headline-grabbing catastrophes. Airplane deaths, railroad deaths and deaths from consumer products all tend to spark more nationwide anxiety but lead to far fewer deaths than routine activities such as taking medication and driving, according to the NSC.
Preventable deaths claimed 169,936 lives in the U.S. in 2017 – the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
The NSC says knowing the odds is the first step in beating them. Here is a list of lifetime odds of death for selected causes in the U.S. in 2017:
- heart disease: 1 in 6
- cancer: 1 in 7
- opioid overdose: 1 in 96
- motor vehicle crash: 1 in 103
- fall: 1 in 114
- gun assault: 1 in 285
- fire or smoke: 1 in 1,474
- bicyclist: 1 in 4,047 (this increased 28% in one year)
- accidental gun discharge: 1 in 8,527
- cataclysmic storm: 1 in 31,394
- hornet, wasp and bee stings: 1 in 46,562
- dog attack: 1 in 115,111
- passenger on airplane: 1 in 188,364
- lightning: 1 in 218,106, and
- rail passenger: 1 in 243,765.