A Disease Of Despair: Opioid Overdoses Are Now The Nation’s Most Common Preventable Cause Of Death

By Nina Golgowski
TheHuffpost (1/14/19)

Accidental opioid overdoses are not only on the rise but are now the most common preventable cause of death in the U.S. for the first time ever, according to a new report.

The latest numbers from the National Safety Council, which analyzed 2017 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, place accidental opioid overdoses ahead of motor vehicle crashes and falls.

Overall, accidental opioid overdoses accounted for more than 43,036 deaths in 2017 ― up from 37,814 deaths in 2016. Motor vehicle crashes had been the top preventable killer, claiming 40,327 lives in 2016. That number slightly decreased in 2017 to 40,231.

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 car crash.

An individual’s actual odds of dying “are affected by the activities in which they participate, where they live and drive, and what kind of work they do, among other factors,” the NSC notes.

The latest numbers paint a grim picture for all Americans, said Maureen Vogel, a spokeswoman for the NSC. …

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