Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
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New Study Shows How Guns Are Affecting Life Expectancy For Black Americans

New Study Shows How Guns Are Affecting Life Expectancy For Black Americans

Suicide rates have increased by 33 percent in less than 20 years. Between 2006 and 2016, the drug overdose death rate has increased by a total of 72% (see U.S. Drug Overdose Rate Climbs; Heroin & Prescription Opioids Top The List and Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2017).

"Deaths from heart disease and cancer, the country's two leading causes of death, have continued their steady decline, but that drop was outpaced by the increase in suicides and accidental injuries, including drug overdose". In three reports issued Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a series of statistics that revealed some troubling trend lines - including rapidly increasing rates of death from drug overdoses and suicide.

Josh Katz and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times note that the rising number of overdose deaths corresponds with the growing use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable", the director added. "But it's deaths in younger age groups - particularly middle-aged people - that have had the largest impact on calculations of life expectancy, experts said".

In 2017, the CDC estimates 70,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, making it the in the country. The average American life expectancy dipped just slightly from 78.7 years in 2016 to 78.6 in 2017.


Part of the issue is the rise in deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which are extremely unsafe due to their potency. Broken down by gender, men could expect to live an average of 76.1 years, down from 76.2 in 2016, while women could anticipate living until 81.1, the same age projected in 2016.

Although the US began receiving $1 billion in 2017 to fight the opioid crisis, they should have received funds as early as 2015 when substance abuse problems began growing. At the very least, now that President Trump has declared the situation a national emergency, we may finally address the problem properly.

Also, as pointed out, funding should go into finding alternative solutions to pain relief that don't involve opioids.

It is hard for researchers to tell why suicide rates have risen, but some suggest that Americans feel increasingly hopeless about the future. We can not have a nation where the people die young.

"The fact is we still need the access to services", said Snyder. Let us act on that data so that we can ensure prosperity and happiness for all.

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