Escalating Drug And Suicide Crises Contribute To Longest Sustained Decline In U.S. Expected Life Span In A Century
Public health experts are alarmed by the new statistics released by the CDC. In contrast, life expectancy has marched steadily upward for decades in most other developed nations. “After three years of stagnation and decline, what do we do now?” asked S.V. Subramanian, a professor of population health and geography at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Do we say this is the new normal?
The Associated Press:
Suicide, At 50-Year Peak, Pushes Down US Life Expectancy
Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live. Overall, there were more than 2.8 million U.S. deaths in 2017, or nearly 70,000 more than the previous year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago. (Stobbe, 11/29)
The Washington Post:
U.S. Life Expectancy Declines Again, A Dismal Trend Not Seen Since World War I
The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide. Public health and demographic experts reacted with alarm to the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual statistics, which are considered a reliable barometer of a society’s health. In most developed nations, life expectancy has marched steadily upward for decades. (Bernstein, 11/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Further
“The continuation of this trend is a warning for all of us that our country has not found a way of addressing the profound needs of the people who are dying,” said Eric Caine, professor of psychiatry and director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “While the economy may be recovering at the macro level, it’s very uncertain whether it’s affecting the lives of these people.” The U.S. has lost three-tenths of a year in life expectancy since 2014, a stunning reversal for a developed nation, and lags far behind other wealthy nations. (McKay, 11/29)
The New York Times:
‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set A Record Last Year.
A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic. New numbers Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, a record. Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks. (Katz and Sanger-Katz, 11/29)
Drug Overdoses And Suicides Fuel Drop In U.S. Life Expectancy
Although the U.S. has struggled with a drug crisis for years, overdoses have only recently become a major driver of the overall mortality rate because decreases in other causes of death, like heart disease, have leveled off after long-term declines. "In those previous years, the increase in overdose deaths offset the declines in heart disease, but now those have flattened out so that's no longer the case," said Bob Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. (Ehley, 11/29)