CDC: Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for 2017 overdose deaths

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The average American could expect to live to 78.6 years old in 2017, down from 78.7 in 2016, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

"Tragically, this troubling trend [in life expectancy] is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide", CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement.

Another recently released report from the CDC found that life expectancy in the country declined to 78.6 years, the third consecutive year for a downward trend.

The data comes as the United States grapples with a vast opioid epidemic, fuelled by addiction to prescription painkillers as well as street drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

West Virginia's rate, the highest in the nation, was 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people. The rate in rural areas was 13.1 per 100,000 with urban areas having a rate of 9.6 per 100,000.

The figures contained in the latest CDC report are a reflection of the diseased nature of American society and the failure of the capitalist system.

"There has been an assumption at times that overdoses fit into one of two categories: they're intentional or they're unintentional", she says.

For decades, USA life expectancy was on the upswing, rising a few months almost every year. People can unknowing consume fentanyl when this drug contaminates other illegal substances; and small amounts of fentanyl can be fatal, Mooney said.

The rate in drug overdoses has skyrocketed in the same period.

CDC & FDA
CDC & FDA

- The 10 leading causes of death in 2017 - and 2016 - in order were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

According to World Health Organization data, the U.S. ranks 31st in life expectancy worldwide, among the lowest in the industrialized world. The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst in more than a decade, and some of the deaths from early in that season appeared in the new death dates. From 2015 to 2016, the rate of increase was 26 percent, but from 2016 to 2017, it was 10 percent. Naturally, this increase affects the overall death rate, which is annually adjusted to account for the changing age of the general population.

The rate of suicides has crept up from 10 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 past year.

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 rates are significantly higher for men, increasing from eight men dying of overdose per 100,000 in 1999 to about 29 per 100,000 past year. The rate has been going up by approximately 71 percent per year since 2013.

Suicide rates also continued a worrying rise.

The suicide rate in 2017 for females aged 75 and over (4.0) was significantly lower than the rate in 1999 (4.5).

"Maybe it's starting to slow down, but it hasn't turned around yet", Rowe said.

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