Expected life expectancy in the United States has fallen again as drug overdose deaths continue to rise – if we take over 70,000 lives in 2017 – and suicides have risen, the US government report said.
The drug overdose rate increased by 9.6 percent compared to 2016, while suicide increased by 3.7 percent, according to the US Centers for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As a result, the average life expectancy in America has dropped to "78.6 years, a decline of 0.1 years since 2016," the report said.
The data comes from the United States catching up with an extensive epidemic of opioids that is a source of addiction to prescription pain medications, as well as street drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids including fentanyl.
"The latest CDC data shows that the average life expectancy of the United States has fallen over the last few years, and this worrying trend is largely due to death from drug overdose and suicide," said CDC director Robert Redfield.
"The expected life expectancy gives us an idea of the nation's overall health, and these stagnant statistics are the awakening that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to avoidable conditions."
– "Very" trend –
Overdose was the main factor when the US average life span in 2015 declined for the first time in decades.
A further decline was recorded by the CDC in 2016, although these data were later revised to show a straight period, said Robert Anderson, head of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the NCHS.
Overall, statistics show "a declining life expectancy since 2014," a time period in which Americans have lost 0.3 years of life, AFP said, describing this trend as "very serious."
Anderson said that since this great pandemic influenza from 1918 and the First World War no such decreases have been recorded, although these losses have been steeper.
The peak of the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the 1980s also experienced a worldwide decline in life expectancy.
"We are a developed country, we have a lot of resources, we should increase the expected life expectancy, not reduce the expected life expectancy," he added.
Canadians live on average three years longer than Americans. Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world, nearly 84.
– "hard to spend" –
The deaths of synthetic drug opioids overdoses such as fentanyl – which killed Prince and Tom Petty – and tramadol increased by 45 percent between 2016 and 2017.
The death rate for heroin was seven times higher than in 1999.
CDC data showed that a total of 70,237 people died of overdose in 2017.
Most of these deaths were unintentional.
The rise – although dramatic was almost 10% y / y – was about half the fluctuation observed a year ago.
In 2016, more people lost 21.6 percent compared to 2015.
Separately released preliminary government data for the first part of 2018 also proved to be offset at overdose death.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a health conference in October, when these data appeared, that "the seemingly relentless trend of rising overdose deaths seems to be finally bending in the right direction."
Experts, however, called for interpretation of the results to indicate that the epidemic of opiates culminated or was near the end.
"It is encouraging to see that the trajectory of this beginning is undoubtedly decreasing," said Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, who did not participate in the data collection.
"What would be the signal of some real change when the total number of overdose deaths would decrease each year," he told AFP.
"Seventy thousand deaths are hard to spend as a positive result."