A person born in 2017 can expect to live until 78.6 years old, down a tenth of a percentage point from 2016. Suicides and drug overdoses helped lead a surge in USA deaths previous year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live. The rate of overdose deaths increased by 9.6% between 2016 and 2017.
"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", CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement Thursday. In 2017, the United States had 2.8 million deaths, a full 70,000 more than the previous year.
Suicides are also on the rise, and men are again more likely to be affected. The rate of deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (this includes fentanyl and tramadol) increased 45 percent between 2016 and 2017. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago.
Meanwhile, drug overdoses surpassed 70,000 in 2017, solidifying the ongoing crisis as the deadliest such epidemic in USA history.
Additionally, last year's suicide death rate (47,000) reached an all-time high in at least 50 years.
Finally, the 10 leading causes of death in 2017, accounting for almost three-quarters of all deaths across the nation, were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.
"That's kind of our saving grace", Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality-statistics branch of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics told the Wall Street Journal.
USA life expectancy drops, overdoses climb - govt report
The figures mark an "appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918", the Washington Post reported. The data also show that the increased deaths correspond strongly with the use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.
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Life expectancy in the United States declined from 2016 to 2017, yet the 10 leading causes of death remained the same, according to three government reports released Thursday. "It doesn't seem like a lot, but in terms of human cost you've got a lot of life that's not being lived". Women generally live longer, with a life expectancy of 81.1 last year, a number that stayed flat compared with the year before. In 1918, life expectancy was 39.
Place also mattered when it came to drug overdose deaths, with some states registering higher numbers than others, the report shows.
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.
Indeed, the new data shows that illicit fentanyl-related deaths surged again, from 19,413 in 2016 to 28,466 in 2017.
Now, the reports released by the CDC did not offer only bad news.
Overall, suicides increased by a third between 1999 and 2017, the report showed. Though constant, the rate has increased over time from about 10 suicides per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. "There are many different circumstances and factors that contribute to suicide". The increases were particularly concentrated in rural America, and among middle-aged women, though the suicide rate for men remains higher than that for women at every age.