Life expectancy in the United States has again declined due to the increase in deaths from drug overdose and suicides from 2016 to 2017.

According to health reports issued recently, a person born in 2017 is expected to live up to 78.6 years old, or 1.2 months lesser that those born in 2016. This may be a small downtick but the decline has steadily occurred for the past three years.

The report stated that there are 2.8 million deaths across the United States in 2017 or 69,000 cases more than the previous year. Last year’s record shows 732 deaths in every 100,000, a slight increase from 729 in 2016.

Drug Overdose And Suicide-Related Deaths

The unfortunate increase in deaths from a drug overdose last year hit a record high of 70,237, an up from 63,632 in 2016. About 30,000 of these cases involved deaths from synthetic opioids such as tramadol and fentanyl, indicating a 45-percent rise from 2016. The National Center for Health Statistics said that most cases of drug overdose were unintentional.

Suicide-related deaths, meanwhile, also showed an alarming increase of 3.7 percent. The cases in rural counties were almost double than the suicide rates in urban counties.

Although suicide placed 10th as the cause of death in the United States, it is still responsible for the demise of 14 people in every 100,000. Since 1999, the numbers have risen to 33 percent. In 18 years, there is a 53-percent increase in deaths among women and 26 percent for men.

Wake-up Call

Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control, said these worrying reports, which showed that Americans are dying from preventable causes, should serve as a wake-up call. Furthermore, he noted that the harrowing figures are a portrait of the current state of the nation.

The main causes of death in 2017, which remained the same from the previous year, account for 74 percent of the number of deaths. These include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (including drug overdose), chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

Based on the report, women will still outlive men, with the former having a life expectancy of 81.1 years and the latter, 76.1 years.

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