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Reducing life expectancy in the United States by overdose



Life expectancy continues to decline in the United States in 2017 and has accumulated in recent years historical decline mainly due to the crisis due to drug overdose, according to health statistics published on Thursday.

"This is the first time we have seen a downward trend since the great flu epidemic of 1918 ", said Robert Anderson, head of death statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, which revealed the data. However, Anderson pointed out that the decline was much stronger in 1918.

In 2017, Life expectancy at birth is 76.1 years for men and 81.1 years for women. The average for the population is 78.6 years, compared with 78.9 in 2014.

Too, three and a half years less than in Canada, on the other side of the border and it is also affected by overdoses.

"These statistics warn us and show that we are losing a lot of Americans, soon, to avoidable causes", said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Redfield.

In 2017, around 70,000 Americans die from drug overdoses, 10% more than in 2016.

In terms of death, Anderson compared this situation with an increase in the HIV epidemic but with a difference: which is rapidly decreasing. Statisticians expect overdoses to follow the same path. "We are a developed country, life expectancy must increase, not decrease"he said.

Of the 35 OECD countries, only Iceland has recently experienced a decline in life expectancy, according to figures up to 2016. In the remaining places, it has increased or stagnated.

Suicide also increases in 2017 in the United States.

Opiates

There are two categories of overdose. On the one hand by non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine and other psychostimulants: for those who die around 27,000 people

But this increase was largely due to the second category: opiates.

These include heroin, morphine and the so-called semisynthetic opiates, such as oxycodone, painkillers that are prescribed but sold on the black market, with the help of doctors and laboratories involved who claim to ignore problems, and which are usually gates of addiction.

Lately, most deaths have come from new generation drugs: Synthetic opiates, such as fentanyl, are dozens of times stronger than heroin, with even the smallest mistake in doses.

He killed the singer Prince. And it was used for the execution of convicts in August in Nebraska.

Death rates from synthetic opiates doubled from 2015 to 2016. Last year, it increased by 45%.

But the 2017 figures reveal details that give relative hope: the number of overdoses continues to grow, but at a slower pace.

Preliminary data for 2018 even shows that the crisis peaked earlier this year. "But it's hard to say", because there is only data for a few months now, cautioned Robert Anderson.

On Staten Island, New York, Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services, avoids jumping to conclusions. "It's very exciting to see that the track is curved, without a doubt," he told AFP. "But 70,000 people die, it's still hard to digest."

Not all countries are equally affected by this outbreak. Central state, from Texas to South Dakota, is relatively safe.

The acute crisis in New England, in the northeast corner, where overdose deaths provide more than a quarter of organ donations, rival traffic accidents.

This is also very strong in two old industrial belt states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) and especially in very poor West Virginia, which is ahead with a sad figure of 58 deaths for each 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 22.



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