Ohio Valley Still Leads Nation In Overdose Deaths

Age-adjusted drug overdose death rates United States 1999–2017

Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up US deaths past year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live.

The average USA life expectancy fell in 2017 as suicide and drug overdose rates continue to rise, according to three government reports released Thursday.

Accidental drug overdoses account for more than a third of the unintentional injury deaths, and intentional drug overdoses account for about a tenth of the suicides, said Dr. Holly Hedegaard, a CDC injury researcher.

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 USA government report said today. That rate rose from 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people to 9 deaths per 100,000 people. Not since the combined impact of World War I and the Spanish Flu in 1918 has the country experienced such a prolonged period of decline in life expectancy. The death rates related to heart disease and kidney disease did not change significantly, according to the CDC.

Waynesboro-based suicide-prevention advocate Cryst3-8255.al Graham said the CDC report demonstrates that "now more than ever, we need to have more open conversations about depression and suicide in our communities".

In 2008, the year Georgetown began tracking these data, 9.7 percent of US kids 18 and under were uninsured.

But Sharfstein, a former secretary of health in Maryland, said the heroin numbers reveal that fentanyl is pushing that drug out of the illicit market in some places.

Age-adjusted suicide rates by sex United States 1999–2017
Age-adjusted suicide rates by sex United States 1999–2017

Ohio's data show fentanyl was involved in 71 percent of all overdose deaths.

Of the 10 leading causes of death, only the cancer rate fell in 2017, while increases were observed in suicide, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's flu/pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries. Not to mention the fact that this is now the third year in a row in which life expectancy has taken a hit. By comparison, only about 17,000 people died of overdoses in 1999, the earliest year for which the CDC offered data Thursday. The rate more than tripled for both men and women, with a slightly higher increase for women, although the overall death rate was approximately twice as high for men as for women. The cases in rural counties were nearly double than the suicide rates in urban counties.

CDC officials did not speculate about what's behind declining life expectancy, but Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, said he sees a sense of hopelessness.

The death rate from drug overdoses increased by almost 10 percent, from 19.8 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016 to 21.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

According to the Associated Press, the suicide rate in America has reached a 50-year peak.

The study also focuses on suicide in depressed rural regions.

"So the frustration that many of us feel is that there are things that could save many lives", he said, "and we are failing to make those services available".

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