Opioid Overdose Deaths Cause Decrease in American Life Expectancy for Second Straight Year

America's opioid crisis does not seem to be stopping, and some would argue that it's actually getting worse. In fact, it's even bringing down America's life expectancy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that according to available data, a baby born in 2017 is expected to live 78 years and 7 months. In 2016, that number was one month longer and in 2015 was two months longer, meaning 2017 is the second straight that life expectancy in the United States decreased.

The leading cause for this decrease is attributed to drug overdoses. In 2016, overdose deaths increased by 21 percent, from 52,000 to 63,600. 2016 also marked the first time that opioids overtook any other drug, including other prescription meds and heroin, for contributing most to overdose deaths. Around 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016 were attributed to opioids, about two-thirds of the total number. Deaths attributed to fentanyl or fentanyl-mixed products attributed for more than 19,000 of those overdoses.

cdc overdose deaths

It should be noted that this is the first time since 1963 that the American life expectancy has declined for two straight years. There hasn't been a three-year drop since 1918, which was the result of one of the worst flu pandemics in modern history.

To be fair, opioids weren't the only factor. Gun deaths also increased in 2016 with 39,000 cases, up from only 33,000 a few years ago. But that's still fewer deaths than opioid overdoses.

The Trump administration has stated on many occasions that they want to help solve America's opioid crisis. But considering that they've already outright rejected using medical marijuana as an alternative for these dangerous drugs, it will probably be more talk than any effective action.

(h/t Yahoo)


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