Opioid Crisis

Kristie Flynn

Americans more likely to die from opioid overdose today than car accident

By Jessica Bursztynsky

Americans are more likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses today than from car crashes, according to a study released Monday from the National Safety Council.

The group analyzed preventable injuries and deaths in 2017 and found the odds of dying by accidental opioid overdose to be 1 in 96 and the odds of a motor vehicle crash 1 in 103. The lifetime odds of death by suicide, however, remain higher at 1 in 88.

"Many of our fears are misplaced, and we tend to worry about the wrong things, like plane crashes and earthquakes," said Maureen Vogel, spokesperson for the NSC. "Those are definitely terrifying events, but they're very rare and unlikely to impact someone over the course of a lifetime."

Americans should be more mindful of risks that come with everyday activities, said Vogel.

The odds of dying from an accidental overdose are also higher than the odds of dying from falls (1 in 114), drowning (1 in 1,117), choking (1 in 2,696), gun assaults (1 in 285) and pedestrian incidents (1 in 556).

On average, 130 Americans die each day after overdosing on opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, 70,237 deaths were caused due to drug overdoses, with opioids being the main cause, according to another CDC report from last December.

The CDC also reported the national life expectancy rate is going down as the number of fatal opioid overdoses rise, with those born in 2017 expected to live to be 78.6 years old. Babies born in 2016 have a 1.2 month higher life expectancy.

"(The study) illustrates the opioid crisis in a way that people can look at it," Vogel said. She added it's a way for consumers to be conscious and make necessary changes.

The NSC noted the study is a composite of statistical averages divided by the U.S. population and doesn't show the chances of death for a particular person. Odds are affected by a person's external activities, such as where they live, drive and work.

Additionally, they're lifetime odds, which are calculated by dividing the life expectancy of a person born in 2017.


Plaintiffs' Omnibus Response to Defendants' Motions filed on Aug. 30, 2018.

Second Amended Complaint filed on April 2, 2018 in Crittenden County Circuit Court.

News Release announcing March 21, 2018 press conference.

News Release announcing April 6, 2018 Arkansas Supreme Court decision.

Watch video from the news conference announcing the lawsuit.

Opioid news conference photos.

Media Coverage of Arkansas Opioid Litigation

State aims to tackle addiction in the courtroom – Arkansas Money & Politics

One state's novel idea to make Big Pharma pay for opioid epidemic — CNN

Attorney: Governments seeking to recover 'probably...billions' from opioid companies – Talk Business & Politics

Opioid Crisis: Is Arkansas Paving the way for big pharma, not taxpayers, to pay for addiction? — Newsweek Online

Arkansas cities, counties sue drug makers over opioid crisis — Associated Press

Other Media Coverage

Opioid-makers gushed dollars to Arkansas doctors — Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bitter Pill — Arkansas Times

Opioid crisis affects all Americans, rural and urban — U.S. Department of Agriculture

The opioid epidemic: A crisis years in the making — The New York Times

Opioid Resources

A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis

This joint report from National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis. Several of the recommendations are accompanied by existing local practices from cities and counties. The report also includes recommendations for state and federal officials, who are pivotal partners in local efforts to combat opioid misuse, diversion, overdose and death.

Arkansas Drug Takeback

Arkansas Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Association of Counties

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rainwater, Hold & Sexton Injury Lawyers 800-434-4800

Guardian Pro RFID and AAC Risk Management Fund mitigate risks for Arkansas jails