December 10, 2018

CDC Data Show Ohio Valley Still Has Nation's Highest Overdose Death Rates

02 December 2018, 08:13 | Rodolfo Wallace

US life expectancy drops, overdoses climb - govt report

U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped for the Third Year in a Row. Drugs and Suicide Are Partly to Blame

A rise in increase in suicides and drug overdoses was the main factor behind the decline in life expectancy.

The drug overdose rate rose 9.6% compared to 2016, while suicides climbed 3.7%, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

CDC director Robert R. Redfield lamented over the implications of his organization's report: "The latest CDC data show that the U.S. life expectancy has declined over the past few years".

Suicide and drug overdose rates continued to rise in 2017, helping drive the number of US deaths to the highest total in more than 100 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a series of reports on mortality released Thursday.

Life expectancy also decreased from 2016 to 2017, going from 78.7 years to 78.6 years.

Adding to the fentanyl deaths are those from heroin and prescription opioids, both drugs which are often adulterated with synthetic opioids. And Kentucky was fifth in the nation with a rate of at 37.2 deaths per 100,000 people. That decline took place during World War I and a sweeping flu epidemic - and before dozens of medical advances. Though constant, the rate has increased over time from about 10 suicides per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017.

Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, says the rising death rate stems from a sense of hopelessness among Americans.

The 2017 decline was due to a drop in life expectancy among men, who saw their estimated life expectancy at birth decline from 76.2 years in 2016 to 76.1 years in 2017. Fentanyl was involved in two-thirds of the state's opiate-related deaths in 2017, and Levine said he is "very concerned that it's expanding into a broader range of drugs".

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The rate in drug overdoses has skyrocketed in the same period.

Of the 10 leading causes of death, only the cancer rate fell in 2017, while increases were observed in suicide, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's flu/pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries.

Overdoses were a major factor when USA life expectancy dropped slightly in 2015 for the first time in decades.

The number of resident deaths recorded in the nation totaled more than 2.8 million in 2017, about 69,000 more than in 2016, a second government report shows. That was also a record number, driven largely by an increase in fentanyl deaths.

The continued increase in overdose deaths is affecting the overall health of the nation. The rate increased from about 6 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to almost 22 per 100,000 in 2017.

The death rate for drug overdoses rose about 10% in 2017. In 1999, the suicide rate in rural counties was 1.4 times the rate of most urban areas. The 2017 report is the third in a row to show a decline in life expectancy.

The suicide rate in 2017 for males aged 75 and over (39.7) was significantly lower than the rate in 1999 (42.4).

"Maybe it's starting to slow down, but it hasn't turned around yet", Rowe said.

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