For the second year, life expectancy is shortened due to drug overdoses

Sunday, 24 Dec, 2017

The most common cause of death: heart disease.

Joshua Sharfstein, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, said several factors are hampering the response to the addiction crisis, including stigma against using medication to treat opioid addiction despite studies showing it's the most effective way to reduce illicit opioid use.

Brenda Fitzgerald told the Associated Press that the opioid epidemic "clearly has a huge impact on our entire society". The political dithering cost 174 deaths a day from drug overdoses in 2016 - one every 8 ½ minutes, he said.

Misuse of opioids starts when prescription opioid drugs or illegal opioids, like heroin, are used to feel euphoric. Overdose deaths have even surged in the workplace.

State numbers for 2017 will not be available for several weeks, but estimates released earlier this year showed a slight decline with drug overdose deaths estimated to be 370.

Statistics released this year showed that Adams County experienced a almost 360 percent increase in emergency department visit rates related to opioid and heroin overdose, and a 300 percent rise in the overdose mortality rates due to opioids and heroin between 2010-15.

The CDC's preliminary data for 2017 only goes through May.

The drug deaths are taken into account in CDC's annual calculation of the average time a person is expected to live.

Life expectancy for men was 76.1, a decrease of 0.2 year, with non-Hispanic black men most impacted. For decades, it was on the upswing, rising a few months almost every year.

Life expectancy dipped for the second year in a row, from 78.7 years in 2015 to 78.6, according to the data, as the federal government and lawmakers work to respond to the epidemic of painkillers, heroin and synthetic drugs gripping the nation. An American born in 2015 was expected to live about a month longer and one born in 2014 about two months longer than that.

The CDC says illegally manufactured fentanyl is primarily responsible for the increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids in 10 states.

A three-year decline happened in 1916, 1917 and 1918, which included the worst flu pandemic in modern history.

The last time the agency recorded a multiyear drop was in 1962 and 1963. It also occurred twice in the 1920s. "With no end in sight".

In an influential 2015 report, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton described a long-running increase in overdoses, suicides, and alcoholic liver disease deaths in rural parts of the U.S., notably Appalachia, as a wave of "diseases of despair".

Even a single-year drop is a big deal.

That partly reflects the growing and aging population in the US.

Anderson said he is particularly concerned about drug overdose deaths, most of which are opioid-related.

The overall decline in longevity came as drug overdose deaths exploded in 2016 to a total of 63,600, around 42,000 of which involved opioids, according to CDC data.

Life expectancy has dropped for the second consecutive year in 2016 in the United States.

Heart disease and cancer are still the leading killers of Americans, but the 21% increase in fatal overdoses that killed 63,600 people a year ago moved "unintentional injuries" into third place as a cause of death nationwide. Alzheimer's disease deaths rose by 3.1 per cent and suicides increased by 1.5 per cent.