Overdoses, Suicides Cause U.S. Life Expectancy to Drop
New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the second year in a row. CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield said the disturbing trend is largely being driven by increases in deaths by drug overdose and suicide.
In 2017, the overall life expectancy for Americans was 78.6. It was a drop of 0.1 from 2016, which may seem small, but it’s the second year in a row that life expectancy has dropped rather than gone up. The decrease brings to light a disturbing face — Americans are dying at younger ages.
The CDC reports the largest contributing factor is the alarming 9.6 percent increase in drug overdose deaths. More than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and tramadol accounted for nearly 30,000 of them.
The suicide rate in the U.S. has continued to rise since 1999. The latest data from the CDC shows there were 14 per 100,000 Americans in 2017.
“These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” said Dr. Redfield in a statement (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/s1129-US-life-expectancy.html).
What Can We Do?
Dr. Redfield stresses the importance of all of us working together to reverse this trend so that Americans can live longer, healthier lives. Organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance are working to pass state and federal legislation that would remove barriers to evidence-based harm reduction and treatment interventions, and allocate funding toward research and life-saving prevention programs. They stress the importance of:
- Methadone and Buprenorphine. These medications block the effects of opioids and prevent or at least relieve withdrawal symptoms.
- Naloxone. Emergency rooms and ambulances have used naloxone for decades to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. They are increasingly being used by first responders across the country.
- Good Samaritan laws. Many states have laws that provide some immunity from prosecution for drug offenses for those who call for help at the scene of an overdose.
At Mountain Peak Recovery, we believe everyone can learn and grow, and lead joyful, fulfilling lives no matter what has happened in their past or what’s going on in their present.
Addiction can quickly wreak havoc on a person’s life and the lives of those around them. If you think someone you love may be struggling with addiction, it’s important to act quickly. You can’t afford to ignore it and hope they will recover on their own. This new data proves that too often, by then — it’s too late.
We have met many incredible people who came to us during the darkest time in their lives. Many of our clients came to us depressed and addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Through individualized, holistic therapy, they are able to turn their lives around and avoid becoming a statistic.
Mountain Peak Recovery offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as a sober living program, and Addict II Athlete program. We promote balance, and strive to heal the body, mind, and spirit of each client.
If you’re ready to help turn this trend around and seek help for yourself or someone you love, call us today at (385) 233-0233.