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Opioids a bigger risk to American lives than vehicle crashes

The National Safety Council released a new report on preventable deaths that found, for the first time on record, the odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than dying in a motor vehicle crash.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

"The nation's opioid crisis is fueling the Council's grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl," the council said.

Vehicle crashes remain a leading danger as well. Kolosh said half of people who died in crashes they analyzed were not wearing seatbelts. Meanwhile, the frequency of pedestrian deaths has increased.

"As human beings, we're terrible at assessing our own risk," Kolosh said. "We typically focus on the unusual or scary events ... and assume that those are the riskiest."

However, the data shows Americans are much more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, an opioid overdose, a motor vehicle crash or even a fall than they are during a "cataclysmic storm"  (just a 1 in 31,394 chance) or by being struck by lightning (just 1 in 218,106) or on an airplane (1 in 188,364).

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You are here: Home News In Brief Opioids a bigger risk to American lives than vehicle crashes