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article imageYou have greater chance of dying of an overdose than a car crash

By Karen Graham     Jan 14, 2019 in Health
For the first time on record, the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the United States are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident.
It is no secret that over the past two decades, drug overdoses have dramatically increased - with deaths increasing more than four times between 1999 and 2017, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2017, over 70,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the country. Of all those deaths, 68 percent involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
The National Safety Council (NSC) which analyzed preventable injury and fatality statistics from 2017, found the chance of dying from an opioid overdose is greater than being killed in an automobile accident. Now, that is a grim statistic for preventable deaths and injuries.
The NSC also found the lifetime odds of death for this form of overdose were greater than the risk of death from falls, pedestrian incidents, drowning, and fire.
The NSC has been analyzing data pertaining to preventable deaths and injuries since the 1920s and has published it annually as Injury Facts (formerly Accident Facts) ever since. So these yearly reports are crucial as a measure of progress we have made in preventing deaths and injuries.
Opioid deaths are preventable
"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, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council, in a statement.
"Too many people still believe the opioid crisis is abstract and will not impact them. Many still do not see it as a major threat to them or their family," said Maureen Vogel, spokeswoman for the National Safety Council told CNN in an email.
Doctors in the United States prescribe more opioids than in any other country -- enough to medicate ...
Doctors in the United States prescribe more opioids than in any other country -- enough to medicate every American adult
PHILIPPE HUGUEN, AFP/File
In the NSC report, it was found that in 2017, more than 169,000 preventable deaths were reported, up 5.3 percent from 2016. The NSC is trying to get Americans to understand that one of the biggest risks to our society is opioids, and it is a crisis. "The data really underscores the importance of knowing the biggest risks to our safety," said Vogel.
For too long, preventable deaths and injuries have been called “accidents,” implying unavoidable acts of God or fate that we are powerless to stop. This is simply not true, says the NSC. Opioid deaths are preventable injuries, no matter how we look at them.
An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioid drugs -- many forced to buy pills illegall...
An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioid drugs -- many forced to buy pills illegally when prescriptions run out and some, in desperation, resort to heroin and synthetic opioids
DOMINICK REUTER, AFP/File
Last month, the CDC reported life expectancy in the United States declined from 2016 to 2017 due to increased drug overdoses and suicides. And one study, published in JAMA on December 28, 2018, found that a growing number of children and adolescents are dying from opioid poisonings.
"What began more than 2 decades ago as a public health problem primarily among young and middle-aged white males is now an epidemic of prescription and illicit opioid abuse that is taking a toll on all segments of US society," the researchers wrote.
The bottom line in all these reports is simple - Opioid use and deaths from overdoses are preventable and we all know this.
More about Nsc, CDC, overdose death, opioids, Preventable deaths
 
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