Accidental opioid deaths exceed traffic fatalities, according to National Safety Council


Robert Sosebee’s family has been missing him since he died of an accidental opioid overdose in September. 

“You hear stories, but never do you think it’s going to hit home,” said Sosebee’s sister, Ashley Sosebee. 

According to the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a traffic crash. 

“I always said Robert was my first best friend,” Ashley Sosebee said. “It hurts a lot him not being here.”

Robert Sosebee had battled addiction to pills and methanphetamine, but his sisters said he began using heroin in the two or three months before he overdosed. 

“He died from a drug overdose from  heroin and fentanyl, which they call a ‘hot shot’ now,” Kelly said. 

According to the latest data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdoses from heroin and synthetic opioids have increased more than 300 percent from 2013 to 2016. 

“It’s a big epidemic…I think in the whole Upstate, not just this community,” Kelly Sosebee said. 

National Safety Council data shows the odds of Americans dying from an accidental opioid overdose are one in 96, while the odds from dying in a car crash are one in 103. 

Sosebee’s sisters told 7News that the family believes he could have been saved. 

“I wish they would have called 911…whether they stayed there or not, at least called 911 because we may still have him with us today,” Kelly Sosebee said. 

The S.C. General Assembly passed a law in 2017 that grants limited immunity for certain drug charges to those who seek help for someone experiencing an overdose. 

Family members said they wish someone would be held accountable for not immediately calling 911 for their brother. They also said their brother’s body was found descretated when authorities found him, which is a criminal offense. They told 7 News they want justsice. 

“It’s bad enough that he died the way that he did, but the stuff that we’re finding out now that they did to him….that’s not right,” Ashley said. 

7News reached out to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office for more information, but did not receive a response by airtime. 

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