(NBC News) Life expectancy is declining in the United States, and the increasing number of drug overdoses and suicides is largely to blame.
The National Health Center's Center for Disease Control Center reports more than 70,000 people died from overdoses in 2017, almost 10 percent up from the previous year.
Suicide increased by almost 4 percent.
Together, two causes of death are the biggest reasons life expectancy has declined for three consecutive years.
In a statement, CDC director Robert Redfield said, "This sad statistic is a warning that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, for preventable conditions."
Life expectancy for Americans is now at 78.6, and despite an increase in drug overdose, the CDC report shows heart disease remains the nation's number one killer, followed by cancer.
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