Monday, December 25, 2017

Life expectancy in the United States drops - Opioids to Blame

Driven by the continued surge in drug deaths, life expectancy in the United States dropped for the second year in a row last year.

It is the first consecutive decline in national life expectancy since 1963. Drug overdoses have now surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 55.
The epidemic of drug overdoses made inroads among black Americans last year — particularly in urban counties. The drug death rate is rising most steeply among blacks. Drug deaths among blacks in urban counties rose by 41 percent in 2016, far outpacing any other ethnic group. In those same counties, the drug death rate among whites rose 19 percent. Drug deaths are up sharply in cities like St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Florida.
As overdose deaths keep climbing, life expectancy likely declined again this year. If so, it would be the first three-year period of consecutive life expectancy declines since World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.