For the second year, life expectancy is shortened due to drug overdoses

Posted December 25, 2017

And, while the year before was barely any better, it turns out 2016 might have been a touch worse for our health than we all imagined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The balance of the overdosedeaths involved sedatives, cocaine and methamphetamines.

Men were far more likely to die from drug overdoses than women were, but other reports have found a growing number of opiate overdoses among women.

Last year also marked the first time since 1962 - 1963 that the USA life expectancy fell two consecutive years. Death rates went up 7.8% for 15-24 year-olds, 20.5% for 25-34 year-olds, and 6.7% for 35-44 year-olds. For decades, it was on the upswing, rising a few months almost every year. An American born in 2015 was expected to live about a month longer and one born in 2014 about two months longer than that.

"If we don't get a handle on this", he said, "we could very well see a third year in a row". And while the authors didn't draw a direct link, another report also released Thursday by the CDC found an estimated 63,600 people died of drug overdoses in 2016. The last time United States life expectancy last fell two years in a row was in 1962 and 1963, as the generation who came of age in World War II began to die of heart disease and cigarette-related cancers, according to Princeton University economist Angus Deaton, who spoke to Buzzfeed.

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The death rate for all Americans decreased by 0.6 percent in 2016, but it increased among younger adults. Twenty-two states had drug overdose rates higher than the national rate - including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Nevada, Utah and MI.

Drug death rates are increasing much faster than they have in recent years.

The federal statistics said other causes of death, including suicide, have increased as well. Some states have been hit worse than others; in OH, morgues are running out of space, and West Virginia spent $1 million last fiscal year transporting corpses. Canada enjoyed a life expectancy of 82.2 years in 2015, while the UK's was 81.1 years (79.2 years for United Kingdom men, and 82.9 years for United Kingdom women, compared to 76.1 for USA men and 81.1 for U.S. women).

"The new report shows the decline in life expectancy occurred despite an overall decline in USA mortality", the statement added.

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There's been a big increase in deaths from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and tramadol.

-U.S. death rates decreased for seven of the 10 leading causes of death, but rose for suicide, Alzheimer's disease and for a category called unintentional injuries (which includes drug overdoses).

The nation's leading killer was heart disease.

A change in mortality among young adults also affects the country in other ways, from the psychological toll on parents who have lost an adult child to a reduction in the number of workers helping to provide services for seniors through those workers' taxes, he said.

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"Fentanyl is king now", said Dr. Dan Ciccarone, an epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco who studies the epidemic.