Life expectancy again falls in United States as opioid deaths rise

Here's the life expectancy of a baby born in 2016, and why it matters

The 2016 average life expectancy fell from 78.7 in 2015 to 78.6 in 2016, following a decline from 78.9 in 2014. In 2016, accidents replaced chronic lower respiratory diseases as the third leading cause of death, the report said.

The report also found death rates - calculated from the number of deaths per 100,000 people - actually rose among young adults between 2015 and 2016. The drug overdose problem is a public health problem and it needs to be addressed. Twenty-two states had drug overdose rates higher than the national rate - including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Nevada, Utah and MI.

Even a single-year drop is a big deal. Highest is Japan, at almost 84 years.

Even Costa Rica, a country with far lower per capita income, and which spends far less on healthcare, significantly outperforms the USA on life expectancy.

But heart disease and cancer are still responsible for most of the 2,712,650 deaths that occurred in the U.S.in 2016. All these factors combined caused American life expectancy to fall from 78.7 to 78.6, breaking down gender specifically to 81.1 for women and 76.1 for men. More than one drug is often involved in an overdosedeath. Two-thirds of those deaths were caused by opioids.

Chile, Guam, Cuba, Czech Republic, and Lebanon are among other countries that beat out the U.S. for average life expectancy as of 2015, the most recent year for which the World Bank has data for those countries.

"The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2016 accounted for 67.5 percent of all infant deaths in the United States", the report reads. They had been hovering around 33,500 deaths a few years ago.

"It sounds like a small amount, but when you extend that across 300 million people, and the hardship starts to add up pretty quickly". Contributing were increases in deaths from vehicle crashes and falls.

A change in mortality among young adults also affects the country in other ways, from the psychological toll on parents who have lost an adult child to a reduction in the number of workers helping to provide services for seniors through those workers' taxes, he said. That partly reflects the nation's growing and aging population. "It may be the deaths from drugs, from suicide, from alcohol are related to the fact that people don't have the stability and a hope for the future that they might have had in the past". "So whatever it is that is causing more drug use and suicide seems to be having a dampening effect on births as well". The rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, also rose, while overdoses involving methadone declined.

"I'm not prone to dramatic statements", Anderson said. The country has not seen such a decline since 1962, when deaths increased as a result of the flu, or 1993, when AIDS-related deaths caused life expectancy to drop. "And that really says the health of the United States isn't doing that well", he said.

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