American Life Expectancy is Down, Probably Because of the Opioid Crisis

For the first time since the 1960s, American life expectancy has dropped for 2 consecutive years. People in the United States should now expect to live about 78.6 years, as opposed to last year’s 78.7 years. 

The last time we experienced life expectancy dips for two years in a row was during the rise of tobacco combined with a bout of the flu throughout the nation. 

Robert Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, told The Guardian “We do occasionally see a one-year dip, even that doesn’t happen that often, but two years in a row is quite striking, and the key driver of that is the increase in drug overdose mortality.” 

Anderson went on to say that it doesn’t look like it will get any better in upcoming years.

He suspects that the increase in opioid deaths and the fact that cardiovascular mortality has stopped improving will hurt life expectancy for years to come. 

According to The New York Times, drug overdoses killed over 64,000 people in 2016. President Trump even declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in late October. 

(Photo Credit: Cover)