National Safety Council: Americans Are More Likely to Die of an Opioid Overdose Than a Motor Vehicle Crash

spilled bottle of prescription drugs

Recently, the National Safety Council updated its list of the “Lifetime Odds of Death for Selected Causes, United States” to incorporate 2017 data on accidental and preventable deaths. According to the report, opioid overdoses, for the first time in U.S. history, have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death. As of 2017, Americans have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, whereas the odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash are 1 in 103.

NPR reporter Ian Stewart analyzed the extenuating factors behind this shift in his article, “Report: Americans Are Now More Likely to Die of an Opioid Overdose Than on the Road.”  Stewart explains, “Fentanyl is now the drug most often responsible for drug overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in December. And that may only be a partial view of the problem: Opioid-related overdoses also have been undercounted by as much as 35 percent, according to a study published last year in the journal Addiction.”

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain; however, it is highly addictive and 25-50% more potent than heroin. Fentanyl is so addictive because it quickly binds with the brain’s μ-opioid receptors to stimulate analgesia and euphoria. Although prescription rates have declined, overdoses associated with illicitly manufactured fentanyl have spiked dramatically. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is often mixed with heroin or cocaine, and usually without the purchaser’s knowledge. Between 2013 and 2016, fentanyl overdoses increased by 113% each year. Tragically, nearly 50% of opioid-related deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl.

Like Decision Point, Center, the National Safety Council is dedicated to treating and preventing drug misuse and overdose fatalities. The council has been researching different ways to help a large number of Americans who struggle with opioid addiction every day. As Stewart states, “The council has recommended tackling the epidemic by increasing pain management training for opioid prescribers, making the potentially lifesaving drug naloxone more widely available and expanding access to addiction treatment.”

Rely on Effective & Compassionate Support

At Decision Point Center, we understand and acknowledge that substance abuse is a chronic disease, not a choice. Our experienced and qualified drug rehab team in Arizona is devoted to providing patients with the unwavering support and exceptional treatment options they need to fight their opioid addictions. In fact, our alternative treatment specialists meticulously customize treatment plans that address each patient’s individual needs, symptoms, and circumstances. If you’re ready to take the first steps in overcoming your addiction, contact Decision Point Center today.

Reach out to our team of Arizona addiction rehab experts at (844) 292-5010 if you’re ready to start your journey.

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