Sunday, 16 December, 2018

USA life expectancy drops, overdoses climb - govt report

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Johnnie Parks | 02 December, 2018, 08:14

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

Life expectancy in the US continued to decline a year ago even though the 10 leading causes of death remained unchanged, three separate reports released on Thursday showed.

It marks the third consecutive year life expectancy has dropped in the U.S., and the longest life expectancy decline trend since the late 1910s when WWI and the worst flu pandemic in modern history combined to kill approximately 675,000 Americans.

"Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide", CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in a statement.

Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises.

According to the report titled "Mortality in the United States, 2017", the life expectancy for a baby born in 2017 fell to 78.6. The rates of drug overdose deaths involving heroin, natural and semisynthetic opioids and methadone were essentially unchanged from 2016. That rate rose from 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people to 9 deaths per 100,000 people.

Anderson said declines like this haven't been seen since the great flu pandemic of 1918 and World War I ― though those losses were steeper. The death rates related to heart disease and kidney disease did not change significantly, according to the CDC.

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

In 2016, 21.6 per cent more people died from overdoses compared to 2015. Broken down by gender, life expectancy remained the same for women at 81.1 years and ticked downward for men from 76.2 years to 76.1 years, the CDC reports.

The top 10 leading causes of death - including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and suicide - were the same as in 2016, accounting for the majority of deaths. Now it's trending the other way: It fell in 2015, stayed level in 2016, and declined again past year, the CDC said. The total number of suicide deaths was the highest in a half century and up more than 2,000 from 2016.

Suicide was ranked as the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans of all ages and the second-leading leading cause of death for people between ages 10 and 34, the data said.

The study also focuses on suicide in depressed rural regions. The 2017 report is the third in a row to show a decline in life expectancy. Drug Overdose And Suicide-Related Deaths The unfortunate increase in deaths from a drug overdose past year hit a record high of 70,237, an up from 63,632 in 2016. During that time, the death rate increased 1.4%.

Overall, suicides increased by a third between 1999 and 2017, the report showed. Suicide rates were almost twice as high in rural counties than in urban ones.

According to the Associated Press, the suicide rate in America has reached a 50-year peak.

And while efforts to combat the opioid epidemic "are starting to stem the tide", she says, "we need to be doing much more".

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