USA life expectancy drops, overdoses climb - govt report

Syringes of fentanyl an opioid painkiller sit in an inpatient facility in Salt Lake City. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid-related overdoses have contributed to the life expectancy drop in the U.S

U.S. Life Expectancy Continues To Fall As Overdose And Suicide Rates Soar

For males, the suicide rate increased 26 percent from 17.8 in 1999 to 22.4 in 2017, while the rate for women increased 53 percent over the same time frame, according to the CDC. The rate of overdose deaths increased by 9.6% between 2016 and 2017. It is the third straight year life expectancy in the USA has declined or stayed flat, reversing course after decades of improvement.

A trio of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released yesterday reveal that, while all 10 of the leading causes of death from 2016 remain identical to those of 2017, another factor is contributing the overall decline in life expectancy.

-A baby born last year in the expected to live about 78 years and 7 months, on average.

In addition to suicide, the United States is experiencing a drug abuse crisis, with more than 70,000 overdose deaths a year ago.

People born in the US last year can expect to live until they are 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 years from the previous 12 months. Meanwhile, death rates increased for suicide, stroke, diabetes, flu/pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's, and unintentional injuries.

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But in general, says William Dietz of George Washington University, the main themes of the reports are "very disturbing" - partly because deaths from overdoses and suicides are likely linked. For men, the number dropped by a 10th of a year to 76.1.

Separately, suicide rates have increased by about 2 percent per year between 2006 and 2017, according to the CDC's data. There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little under 45,000 the year before. "Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world".

Americans are dying younger, as drug overdoses and suicide kill an increasing number of people, according to a grim new set of government statistics.

-Deaths from flu and pneumonia rose by about 6 percent. There were 14,495 overdose deaths attributed to narcotics such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and 3,194 from methadone, which is used as a painkiller.

USA women continue to outlive men, and the death rate did decrease among 45- to 54-year-olds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid-related overdoses have contributed to the life expectancy drop in the U.S. The CDC's numbers are subject to change as more data becomes available, however.

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In a third report, the government detailed the ongoing growth of deaths from suicide, which has climbed steadily since 1999 and grown worse since 2006.

Financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics are all casting a pall over many Americans, he suggested. More remote areas have seen rates nearly twice as high as in urban areas. The increases were particularly concentrated in rural America, and among middle-aged women, though the suicide rate for men remains higher than that for women at every age.

Among males, the rate increased 26 percent between 1999 and 2017, from about 18 suicides per 100,000 to almost 22 per 100,000. In 1999, by contrast, that number was around 10.5 per 100,000 people. Earlier CDC reports have noted increasing rates of suicide by gun.

Sharfstein said the most lamentable aspect of the crises is that policymakers know which approaches make a difference, such as medically assisted treatment for drug abusers and increased availability of mental health services in states where they are lacking.

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