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US Life Expectancy Falls for the Second Year In A Row

Taron Masi, Writer

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For the second consecutive year, the average lifespan for an American citizen has declined. Studies conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics show the life expectancy in the U.S. dropping from 78.7 to 78.6 for all babies born in 2016. This is following last year’s drop from an average of 78.8. This new drop is the first time American life expectancy has declined two years in a row since 1962 and 1963.

This new lifespan average of 78.6 puts the U.S. behind other developed nations like France and the U.K. One of the undeniable culprits for this decrease is the growing opioid epidemic, which research says is cutting down young adults at an increasing rate. Surges in fatal opioid overdoses are now giving off effects to the overall American lifespan.

In 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reported that one major link to the drop in American life expectancy was the 21 percent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths since 2016. The same report also cited the 137 percent increase in opioid-related deaths between 2000 and 2014.

The increase in deaths due to alcohol and drug abuse are both major contributing factors to the sudden drop in the American lifespan. On average, 115 people die in the U.S. per day from an opioid overdose, with six Americans dying from alcohol abuse each day. According to federal data, these are the highest rates in 35 years. The CDC report also highlighted the recent rise in the national suicide rate, which has increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014 as well as the poor health conditions caused by diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

The consequences of recent American lifestyles could be beginning to turn dire. Not only are the numbers of deaths and illnesses escalating but also the costs for appropriate the health care to cover those illnesses. As of now, the fact is that addiction and a decline in the emotional wellbeing of American citizens have had a significant enough drag on the country that it has managed to take the country’s average length of life right down with it.

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