OH ranks second in drug overdose deaths — CDC

Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids- particularly fentanyl- shot up in 2016 driving the overall climb of the death rate

The average life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the second year in a row.

By the end of 2015, public health experts and politicians acknowledged the widespread effects of America's opioid addiction problem and labeled it an epidemic, but without the necessary increase in addiction treatment and healthcare spending, the overprescription, addiction and overdose problem only increased.

For more on the opioid epidemic, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid epidemic "clearly has a huge impact on our entire society". "We could easily be at 50,000 opioid deaths previous year". Opioid-related overdoses surged 28 percent, killing 42,249 people, mostly in the 25-to-54 age group.

Heroin, an illegal opioid that is typically injected, accounted for around 15,500 deaths, and prescription painkillers were involved in about 14,500, TFAH reported. The balance of the overdose deaths involved sedatives, cocaine and methamphetamines. From 2015-16, overdose deaths increased by over 11,000 persons, from 52,504 to 63,632.

While drug mortality has been increasing among all age groups since 1999, it's now highest among those age 25 to 54. "Deaths from alcohol have been rising as well". And the only time in modern US history that life expectancy has dropped three consecutive years was during the 1916 to 1918 influenza pandemic, he said. For decades, it was on the upswing, rising a few months almost every year.

For U.S. males, life expectancy fell from 76.3 to 76.1 years, while females' life expectancy remained at 81.1 years. An American born in 2015 was expected to live about a month longer and one born in 2014 about two months longer than that. The last time U.S. life expectancy last fell two years in a row was in 1962 and 1963, as the generation who came of age in World War II began to die of heart disease and cigarette-related cancers, according to Princeton University economist Angus Deaton, who spoke to Buzzfeed.

Even from within the federal government, the White House-funded National Institute on Drug Addiction published an in-house study on their website last May that "Found an association between medical marijuana legalization and a reduction in overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers, an effect that strengthened in each year following the implementation of legislation". The country has not seen such a decline since 1962, when deaths increased as a result of the flu, or 1993, when AIDS-related deaths caused life expectancy to drop. It also happened twice in the 1920s.

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"We need to pay attention to this", he said. "With no end in sight". That partly reflects the nation's growing and aging population.

Pennsylvania had more deaths than OH at 4,844. The death rate from overdoses tripled from 6.1 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 19.8 in 2016.

The decline in life expectancy even occurred despite an overall decrease in US mortality.

In fact, the report contains reassuring news for older Americans: If you make it to age 65, you can expect to live another 18 years if you are a man and 20.6 years if you are a woman. Deaths from those causes rose 9.7% in 2016. Contributing were increases in deaths from vehicle crashes and falls. They had been hovering around 33,500 deaths a few years ago.

Even Costa Rica, a country with far lower per capita income, and which spends far less on healthcare, significantly outperforms the United States on life expectancy. Highest is Japan, at almost 84 years.

And the opioid crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

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