Mortality rates in the United States have continued to rise in line with the worrying rise in overdose and suicide rates, according to three new government studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Life expectancy dropped to 78.6 years in 2017 from 78.7 in 2016, contributing to the longest decline in US history since World War I, when an influenza pandemic began. killed nearly 700,000 people in the country between 1915 and 1918.
The main group that saw mortality rates increase significantly was white Americans: 0.6% for white men and 0.9% for white women, according to the CDC.
"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the country's overall state of health, and these disturbing statistics remind us that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to leave them in preventable conditions," he said. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.
The top 10 causes of death remained the same, with heart disease and cancer at the top of the list. Yet a second report from the CDC revealed that the drug overdose rate had jumped 9.6% between 2016 and 2017, for a total of 70,237 deaths last year. The rate of deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl jumped 71% between 2013 and 2017 and by 45% between 2016 and 2017 alone.
The most affected age groups in 2017 were 25 to 34 year olds, 35 to 44 year olds and 54 to 54 year olds. The highest overdose rates have also been concentrated in only a few states, including West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
A third report found that suicide rates also continued to rise, particularly among rural Americans. Between 1999 and 2017, the suicide rate increased by 33%. Men experienced a 26% increase while women experienced a 53% increase. The more remote areas experienced rates almost twice as high as in urban areas.
"I think the health situation in the United States is very dark," said Joshua M. Sharfstein, deputy dean of public health practice and community involvement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Life expectancy is improving in many places around the world. There should be no decline in the United States. "