Opioid deaths are now more common than car crashes, researchers say

While car crashes are one of the leading cause of deaths in the U.S., opioid overdoses are more likely to kill you, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the National Safety Council recently conducted a study to explore the odds of dying in the United States.

To do so, they collected mortality data for 2017 from the National Center for Health Statistics. They also pulled population and life expectancy information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

After analyzing the figures, they found Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose. The probability of dying from a motor vehicle accident 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 team said in a statement.

More than 49,000 people died due to opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, opioid overdoses are the the fifth leading cause of death in the country. Heart disease and cancer are still the No. 1 and No. 2 cause, respectively, followed by chronic lower respiratory disease and suicide.

However, the lifetime odds of an American dying from a preventable, accidental injury have gone up over the past 15 years. Preventable injuries caused 169,936 deaths in 2017.

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"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," Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council, said in the statement. "We cannot be complacent about 466 lives lost every day. This new analysis reinforces that we must consistently prioritize safety at work, at home and on the road to prevent these dire outcomes."

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