Death rate for those 85+ increases 'significantly,' CDC says

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

Drug-overdose deaths skyrocketed between 2015 and 2017, particularly for people between the ages of 25 and 54.

The annual mortality report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) highlights the disastrous impact of the social crisis on the American working class. Suicides and drug overdoses, what have been termed deaths of despair, have been identified as the driving forces behind the continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live.

Life expectancy in the U.S.is going down and it has researchers shaking their heads. Preliminary data released last month also said drug overdose deaths have fallen over the past year.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable", Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, said in a statement Thursday.

The heroin overdose death rate remained constant at about 5 deaths per 100,000 people for both 2016 and 2017; that said, it is seven times higher than in 1999. It's the longest sustained decline since World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic, which killed tens of millions worldwide.

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.

"There are some data to suggest that that's led to a sense of hopelessness, which in turn could lead to an increase in rates of suicide and certainly addictive behaviors". "I really do believe that people are increasingly hopeless, and that that leads to drug use, it leads potentially to suicide", he said.

U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped for the Third Year in a Row. Drugs and Suicide Are Partly to Blame
Suicides, opioid overdose deaths push US life expectancy lower

The 2017 numbers come despite the government's Healthy People 2020 goal to reduce suicide rates to 10.2 per 100,000 by 2020. It fell in 2015, stayed the same in 2016, and decreased again previous year, the CDC said. While still relatively uncommon, suicides accounted for 14 deaths per 100,000 people in the USA past year.

With a rate of 57.8 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people, West Virginia once again had the highest overdose death rate in the country, followed by OH with 46.3 per 100,000 and Pennsylvania with 44.3 per 100,000. "It shouldn't be declining in the United States".

Meanwhile, the number of overdose deaths hit a new high past year, reaching 70,237.

The death rate from fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids soared by 45% in a single year. Almost four times as many men died by suicide than women in 2017, but the rate for women has seen a higher rate of increase over the last 18 years.

"We're seeing the drop in life expectancy not because we're hitting a cap [for lifespans of] people in their 80s". The CDC did not release state rates for suicides. In 1999, the suicide rate in rural counties was 1.4 times the rate of most urban areas. Meanwhile, Texas (about 10 drug overdose deaths per 100,000), North Dakota (about 9 per 100,000), South Dakota and Nebraska (both about 8 per 100,000) had the lowest rates in 2017.

Deaths from flu and pneumonia rose by about 6 percent.

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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