Death rate for those 85+ increases 'significantly,' CDC says

Henrietta Strickland
December 2, 2018

Life expectancy in the United States dropped yet again as drug overdose deaths continued to climb - taking more than 70,000 lives in 2017 - and suicides rose, a U.S. government report said today.

The drug overdose rate rose 9.6 per cent compared to 2016, while suicides climbed 3.7 per cent, said the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Centre for Health Statistics.

Another recently released report from the CDC found that life expectancy in the country declined to 78.6 years, the third consecutive year for a downward trend.

"The latest CDC data show that the USA life expectancy has declined over the past few years", said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

Final longevity numbers for 2014 through 2016 were published September 20 in Health, United States, 2017, an annual report produced by the NCHS. The number of people who died a year ago as a result of those causes also increased from 2016.

The recent increases in drug overdose deaths have been so steep that they have contributed to reductions in the country's life expectancy over the past three years and are the leading cause of death for adults under 55. In 2016, suicide became the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34. This grim "top 10 list" remained unchanged from the previous year. Life expectancy in 1918 was 39.

Rates in rural US counties are almost twice as high as in urban counties, the government statisticians say.

America will have to curtail its escalating suicide rate if it ever hopes of becoming truly great again.

The CDC also says that suicides have increased by 4 percent over the previous year, also leading to the decline of life expectancy.

The trend is disturbing: the suicide rate grew 1 percent per year between 1999 and 2006, then accelerated to 2 percent annual growth between 2006 and 2017.

CDC director Robert R. Redfield lamented over the implications of his organization's report: "The latest CDC data show that the USA life expectancy has declined over the past few years".

Most races and ethnic groups, including black males, Hispanic males and Hispanic females, saw no significant changes in their death rate year over year.

The Washington Post notes that other factors contributed to an increased death rate a year ago, including a spike in influenza deaths as well as fatalities from chronic low respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease and strokes.

The drop was largely driven by deaths from drug overdoses and suicides, which have increased steadily over the past few years. The life expectancy now stands at 78.6 years, down one-tenth from last year. By comparison, the rate for women has increased from four per 100,000 to 14. Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., vehicle crashes or gun violence at their peaks. And Kentucky was fifth in the nation with a rate of at 37.2 deaths per 100,000 people. The 2017 report is the third in a row to show a decline in life expectancy. The rate has been going up by approximately 71 percent per year since 2013.

In 2017, the suicide rate for the most rural counties (20 per 100,000) outpaced that in the most urban counties (about 11 per 100,000).

"We are starting to see more people dying as a result of using cocaine that has fentanyl cut into it", Levine said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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