The average life expectancy in the US in 2017 is further declining compared to 2014, the historical deterioration due in particular to drug overdrug crises, but also the increase in suicide, according to health statistics released on Thursday.
"It's the first time since we've seen the downward trend since the Great Influenza Influenza in 1918," said Robert Anderson, head of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics. Anderson pointed out that the decline was much stronger in 1918.
In 2017, the average life expectancy at birth was 76.1 years for men and 81.1 years for women. The average population was 78.6 years, compared to 78.9 in 2014.
In addition, they are three and a half years less than in Canada, on the other side of the border, and this is also affected by overdose.
"These statistics highlight us and show that we will soon lose Americans for reasons that can not be avoided," said Robert Redfield, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The drug overdose method started at the beginning of 2000 and its intensity has increased over the last four years.
In 2017, some 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses by 10% more than in 2016.
In terms of death, Anderson compared this situation with the rise in the HIV epidemic, but with one difference: that it quickly declined. Statistics expect that overdoses will follow the same path. "We are a developed country, the expected life expectancy must be increased, not reduced," he said.
Of the 35 OECD countries, only the average life span has recently declined by 2016. It has increased or stagnated in the rest of the country.
Suicides also grew concurrently in 2017 in the United States and reached 47,000 deaths. Since 1999, the suicide rate has increased by 33%.
"We have a lot of work to reverse these trends," said Democratic Congressman Bill Foster.
– Opioids –
There are two categories of overdose. One for non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and another for psychostimulants, for which approximately 27,000 people died.
However, the increase is largely due to the second category: opiates.
These include heroin, morphine and so-called Semisynthetic opiates, like oxycodone, a prescription drug, but sold on the black market with the help of collaborating physicians and laboratories who claim to ignore this problem and who are usually a gateway to addiction.
More recently, most deaths come from a new generation of drugs: synthetic opiates such as fentanyl, ten times stronger than heroin, with which the smallest fatal fatal error may be. Approximately 28,000 Americans died of fentanyl or similar drugs in 2017.
"The opium market is now completely dominated by fentanyl," said Joshua Sharfstein, a former Maryland health care official at Johns Hopkins University.
Mortality from synthetic opiates doubled between 2015 and 2016. Last year it increased by 45%.
However, figures in 2017 have revealed a detail that gives relative hope: the number of overdoses is increasing but slower.
Preliminary data for 2018 even suggest that the crisis has peaked this year. "But it's hard to say," because there are only a few months to date, said cautious Robert Anderson.
On State Island in New York, Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services, avoids jumping to conclusions. "It is encouraging to see that the trajectory is undoubtedly curved," he told AFP. "But 70,000 dead are still hard to spend."
Not all countries are equally affected by this plague disease. Center states, from Texas to South Dakota, are relatively safe.
The crisis is acute in New England, in the northeast corner, where overdose deaths provide more than a quarter of organ donation that cope with traffic accidents.
It is also very strong in the two states of the old industrial belt (Ohio and Pennsylvania) and especially in the very bad West Virginia, which is on the front with a sad figure of 58 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the national average 22