Car crash deaths take back seat to opioid overdoses

Illegally manufactured Fentanyl largely to blame

Opioid overdoses have become a bigger threat to life in the U.S. than car crashes.

The National Safety Council there says overdose deaths topped 70,000 in 2017, mainly due to illegally manufactured fentanyl. The total number of all so-called preventable injury deaths was nearly 170,000.

The Centers for Disease Control last month reported life expectancy in the United States declined from 2016 to 2017 due to increased drug overdoses and suicides. One study found a growing number of children and adolescents in the United States are dying from opioid poisonings.

Researchers say what began as a public health problem – primarily among young and middle-aged white males – two decades ago has become an epidemic of prescription and illicit opioid abuse that is taking a toll on all segments of society.