USA life expectancy drops, overdoses climb - govt report

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Americans born in 2017 are expected to live 78.6 years, down about 0.1 from the previous year, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, called the trend tragic and troubling. Life expectancy for women in 2017 remained unchanged from 2016, at 81.1 years.

The number of resident deaths recorded in the nation totaled more than 2.8 million in 2017, about 69,000 more than in 2016, the report shows.

The increase partly reflects the nation's growing and aging population. Yet a second CDC report revealed that the rate of drug overdoses jumped 9.6 percent between 2016 and 2017, totaling 70,237 deaths previous year.

Among the 10 leading causes of death, only cancer deaths fell while there were increases in suicide, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's, flu/pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries.

Life expectancy dropped to 78.6 years in 2017, down from 78.7 in 2016, contributing to the longest-running decline in USA history since World War I, when a flu pandemic killed nearly 700,000 people nationwide between 1915 and 1918.

Drug overdoses alone took 70,237 lives in 2017, the highest number ever recorded for a single year.

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An underlying factor is that the death rate for heart disease - the nation's No. 1 killer - has stopped falling.

The age groups particularly affected in 2017 spanned the 25-34 range, as well as 35-44 and 54-54.

Overall, the greatest increase in drug overdose death rates was among adults between 55 and 64 for the period 1999 to 2017: About 4 deaths per 100,000 occurred in this group in 1999, compared with 28 per 100,000 in 2017. And the increase last year is very likely due to policies pursued by President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress, the Georgetown researchers said, citing the GOP's well-publicized but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to dismantle ObamaCare and cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); last-year's months-long lapse in CHIP reauthorization; the slashing of funding for programs to help low-income people enroll in ObamaCare plans; and recent moves to deny green cards to legal immigrants who use social services like food stamps and Medicaid.

-West Virginia was once again the state with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths.

The CDC figures are based mainly on a review of 2017 death certificates. In 2017, about 70,200 people died from drug overdoses, up from about 63,600 deaths in 2016.

Over the past decade, suicide has ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, a third new final government report reveals. The CDC did not release state rates for suicides.

Among males, the rate increased 26% between 1999 and 2017, from about 18 suicides per 100,000 to almost 22 per 100,000.

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