National Safety Council Says Opioid Epidemic At Fault For Spike In Accidental Death Rate
In 2016, the accidental death rate in the U.S. increased significantly, and are now the third leading cause of deaths for the first time in over a century. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), this is the most significant increase since 1936 and the largest two-year rise since 1903.
The NSC contends that the reason for this is a dramatic spike in overdoses due to opioids. “Accidental” deaths are described by the Council as unintentional and preventable injuries. Indeed, more than 160,000 lives were claimed in this manner in 2016 – a 10% increase from 2015. In addition to overdoses, these fatalities include car crashes, falls, drowning, and choking.
Based on the data, the NSC states that an American is accidentally killed every three minutes as a result of a preventable cause.
“The unprecedented spike has been fueled by the opioid crisis. Unintentional opioid overdose deaths totaled 37,814 from drugs including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, and illicitly-made fentanyl.”
Comparatively, auto accident deaths numbered around 40,000 in 2016, a nearly 7% increase from 2015. NSC also confirmed that the 2016 data reveals a 14% increase in roadway deaths since 2014 – the largest two-year jump in more than half a century.
Fatalities associated with falls also increased by around 4%, drownings at 5%, and deaths related to fires 3.2%. Only choking-related deaths fell, a decrease of 4.4%.
The NSC writes:
“Preventable deaths have been rising since 2009 after years of declines and plateaus, and they trail only heart disease and cancer when it comes to the number of lives lost annually. Unlike other causes of death, preventable injuries are a threat at every age.
The NSC also noted that accidental deaths have been increasing “since 2009 after years of declines and plateaus” and that only heart disease and cancer now kill more people annually. Also, unlike other death causes such as disease, accidental injuries are a threat to every age group.