The National Safety Council has reported that Americans are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car crashes or suicide. The likelihood of dying from opioid use in the U.S. increased from lifetime odds of one in 96 in 2017 to one in 67 in 2020. The same year, someone living in the U.S. only had one in 93 odds of dying of suicide and a one in 101 change of dying in a car crash.
Potent and deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl - which is often mixed with heroin without the knowledge of drug users - contributed to this dismal development together with the ongoing crisis of prescription pain killer misuse. The U.S. experienced more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2021, with a severe uptick during the coronavirus pandemic.
The most likely cause of death in the U.S. continues to be heart disease with liftime odds of 1 in 6, followed by cancer, Covid-19 and chronic lower respiratory disease. The Covid-19 lifetime odds are modeled on 2020 deaths in the U.S., so this number might change again depending on the future path of the disease.
Despite being a common fear, the chances of dying due to gun assault stands at only one in 221, but are still greater than perishing in a motorcycle accident, drowning or choking to death. Dying in a dog attack remains highly unlikely with the chances of that happening at one in 69,016. Dying in a hurricane or tornado or any other storm event is actually more likely at one in 35,074.