Health Care

US Life Expectancy Drops Due To Rise In Drug Overdose Deaths

US Life Expectancy Drops Due To Rise In Drug Overdose Deaths”

Drug overdoses set another new record in 2017, cresting at 70,237 - up from 63,632 the year before, the government said in a companion report.

Life expectancy in the United States dropped yet again as drug overdose deaths continued to climb - taking more than 70,000 lives in 2017 - and suicides rose, a USA government report said today.

Life expectancy in the USA rose a few months a year for decades.

"Tragically, this troubling trend [in life expectancy] is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide", CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement.

"These sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable".

Americans can expect to live just over 78 years and six months on average - a 0.1 year drop from 2016, according to the report released on Thursday. These synthetic opioids account for approximately double the number of deaths caused by natural and semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone, which saw a leveling off in associated deaths between 2016 and 2017. The rise coincides with the opioid crisis ravaging through parts of the U.S., concentrated in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The suicide rate is also the highest it has been in decades.

These co-occurrent trends have caused some commentators to invoke economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton's notion of "deaths of despair", deaths brought about by declining social capital and happiness amid an increasingly deracinated society.

As drug overdose deaths have risen, so too have suicides, steadily increasing among already-suicide-prone men.

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Emma and Toni's father took his own life now they want to help more men speak out
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Emma and Toni's father took his own life now they want to help more men speak out

West Virginia's rate, the highest in the nation, was 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

The Washington Post notes that other factors contributed to an increased death rate a year ago, including a spike in influenza deaths as well as fatalities from chronic low respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease and strokes.

By the revised measure, life expectancy in 2015 and 2016 was flat, at 78.7, a decline from 78.9 in 2014.

The national goal, under the Healthy People 2020 initiative, has been to reduce the rate to 10.2 per 100,000 by 2020, though clearly things are moving very much in the wrong direction in that sense.

Drug overdoses have also caused the deaths of more younger people. They accounted for almost 30,000 of the drug overdose deaths. "It shouldn't be declining in the United States". The data also show that the increased deaths correspond strongly with the use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.

Most alarming is that suicide rate in the most rural counties in the now 1.8 times the rate in the most urban counties: with the rate in most rural counties at 20.0 per 100,000, and in the most urban at 11.1 per 100,000.

"Vermont took steps early on to implement a number of significant actions to enhance prevention, promote screening and early intervention, monitor prescribing, expand treatment and support recovery", Levine said. Though constant, the rate has increased over time from about 10 suicides per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017.

Other national findings from the CDC report included the fact that males continue to be far more likely to die from a drug overdose than females.

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