Over recent years, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased dramatically, leading many to label the situation a crisis. Now, the odds of dying from an opioid overdose outpaces a person’s chances of dying in a vehicle accident, marking the first time in history that overdose deaths from a single drug category are more likely than car crash fatalities.
The study from the National Safety Council shows, according to a report by the Daily Mail, that the odds of dying from an opioid overdose in the US are one in 96. For being killed in a car crash, the odds are one in 103.
To help provide context, the odds of ending up with a flush in five-card poker – where your entire hand is made up of one suit but are not in sequence – is one in 508.
All of the odds were calculated based on an analysis of death records from 2017, and the study marks the first time where dying from an overdose caused by one specific drug category was more likely than dying in a vehicle accident.
Heart disease still remains the most likely killer of Americans, with odds of one in six, followed by cancer at one in seven, and chronic lower respiratory disease at one in 27. Suicide is also more likely than dying of an opioid overdose or in a car crash, coming in at one in 88.
The National Safety Council also included statistics for causes that many people fear, but are far less likely.
“We tend to focus on the catastrophic – plane crashes, lightning strikes – and we want to help demonstrate that the odds of every day, almost mundane risks are far greater in the aggregate than the odds of dying in a catastrophe or newsworthy event,” said Ken Kolosh.
The odds of dying from a lightning strike or as a passenger on a plane came in at one in 218,106 and one in 188,364, respectively.
Opioids are recognized for being highly addictive, and the use of the narcotic is surprisingly widespread. A study by the American Psychiatric Association last year found that around one in three people knows someone who suffers from opioid addiction.
Approximately 75 percent of opioid users say they initially received the drug as a prescription, and around 29 percent began misusing them. Up to 12 percent ultimately develop a misuse disorder.