Opioid-Related Deaths Keep Rising As Pain Pill Prescriptions Fall - Hit & Run

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"These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable", Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC's director, said in a statement.

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

Overall life expectancy for Americans was 78.6 years in 2017, a drop of 0.1 year.

Overall, the statistics show a "downward trend in life expectancy since 2014", a time period in which Americans have lost 0.3 years of life, he told AFP, describing the trend as "very concerning".

Death rates for 2016 and 2017, by ethnicity and sex; drug overdose; and suicide rates for women and men. Men could anticipate a life span of 76.1 years, down a tenth of a year from 2016.

Meanwhile, the use of overdose-preventing drugs like narcan is being actively objected to by police forces around the country, as many refuse to carry the opioid antidote.

According to the CDC report, the age-adjusted suicide rate in 1999 was 10.5 per 100,000. People between the ages of 15 and 24 experienced about 13 overdose deaths per 100,000, those between 55 and 64 experienced 28 per 100,000, and the 65 and older age group had about 7 deaths per 100,000. This grim "top 10 list" remained unchanged from the previous year. In 1918, life expectancy was 39.

"Higher suicide rates in rural areas are due to almost 60 percent of rural homes having a gun, versus less than half of homes in urban areas", Stanford University psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Keith Humphreys told the Post.

CDC & FDA
CDC & FDA

Suicide rates also continued a worrying rise. Some of the states in those regions-Kentucky, Tennessee, and New Mexico, for instance-also face notably higher mortality rates for drug overdoses, when compared to a CDC map released earlier this year.

Vermont's 2017 overdose death rate is considered "statistically the same" as the national rate.

The report also found that the life expectancy decline was largely due to increases in deaths from unintentional injuries, suicide, diabetes, and the flu and pneumonia. In 1999, the death rate was just 6.1 per 100,000.

"We're seeing the drop in life expectancy not because we're hitting a cap [for lifespans of] people in their 80s". The highest rate in the region was 37 deaths per 100,000 in New Hampshire.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a health conference in October, when that data came out, that the "seemingly relentless trend of rising overdose deaths seems to be finally bending in the right direction".

CDC officials did not speculate about what's behind declining life expectancy, but Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, said he sees a sense of hopelessness.

The suicide rate in 2017 for females aged 75 and over (4.0) was significantly lower than the rate in 1999 (4.5).

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

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