Your Risk of Dying From ….

Your risk of dying from various causes, as of 2016, according to the National Safety Council.

Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 2016
Cause of Death Odds of Dying
Heart Disease 1 in 6
Cancer 1 in 7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease 1 in 27
Suicide 1 in 91
Motor Vehicle Crash 1 in 102
Opioid pain killers 1 in 109
Fall 1 in 119
Gun Assault 1 in 285
Pedestrian Incident 1 in 561
Motorcyclist 1 in 846
Drowning 1 in 1,086
Fire or Smoke 1 in 1,506
Choking on Food 1 in 3,138
Bicyclist 1 in 4,050
Accidental Gun Discharge 1 in 8,305
Sunstroke 1 in 8,976
Electrocution, Radiation, Extreme Temperatures and Pressure 1 in 14,630
Sharp objects 1 in 27,407
Hornet, wasp and bee stings 1 in 54,093
Hot surfaces and substances 1 in 56,316
Cataclysmic Storm 1 in 62,288
Lightning 1 in 114,195
Dog attack 1 in 132,614
Railway passenger 1 in 178,741
Passenger on an airplane 1 in 205,552

Chart: Our Anesthetized Nation

What’s wrong?

George Lucas’ 1971 dystopian view of the technologically controlled industrial society, THX-1138, envisioned the the merging of the big data / surveillance state, the big industrialization state, the robot controlled police state, and the sedation of the populace. In the below excerpt, members of this dystopian society open their medicine cabinet to a face of a camera and an upbeat voice asking, “What’s wrong?”


We can debate the trajectory and pace of our 21st century democracy toward, or away from, Lucas’ 25th century dystopia.  If current trends continue, there will be one significant difference from Lucas’ medical control of the population hypothesis:  Our society is on track for the private medicalization of the citizenry.  There are white markets (big pharma and media), gray markets (legalized alcohol and marijuana), and black markets (illegal drugs such as opioids (see below)).

Today’s Times charts the increased rate of overall usage and long-term dependence on anti-depressants.

Long-Term Antidepressant Usage

Chart - Antidepressant Rates and Durations - NYT - 2018-04-07

Source: NYT 4/8/18.

Opioid Related Deaths, 2015

Chart - Opioid Deaths 2015 - Economist - 2018-04-08

Source: The, 4/8/18.


Drug Deaths by Race

CHART - Opioid Deaths by race - NYT - 2017-12-22

Source: NYT 12/22/17.

See also this blog post on urban v. rural differences in emergency room admissions by substance type.