1. Sofer, Dalia


The data reflect more deaths from suicide and drug overdose.


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According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), life expectancy in the United States has decreased-from 78.7 years in 2016 to 78.6 years in 2017. While the 10 leading causes of death remain the same (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide), age-adjusted death rates rose for seven of the 10. Among these were influenza and pneumonia (5.9%), unintentional injuries (4.2%), and suicide (3.7%).

Figure. Age-adjusted... - Click to enlarge in new window Age-adjusted drug overdose death rates by state, 2017. Reprinted from Hedegaard H, et al.

Two other CDC reports shed light on deaths caused by suicide and drug overdose. In 2016, suicide became the second leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 34 years and the fourth leading cause for those ages 35 to 54 years. From 1999 to 2017, the suicide rate increased by 33%, from 10.5 to 14 per 100,000 people. While suicide was still more prevalent among males, the rate among females increased by 53% (compared with a 26% increase among males). In 1999 as in 2017, the female suicide rate was highest among women ages 45 to 64 years.


Death by drug overdose has also become alarming, claiming the lives of 70,237 people in 2017-an increase of 9.6% from 2016. Between 1999 and 2006, the overdose death rate increased on average by 10% per year. Although from 2006 to 2014 the rate rose by about 3% annually, it shot up to approximately 16% per year from 2014 to 2017. West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia had the highest rates, while Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska had the lowest. In 2017, overdose death rates were highest for adults ages 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 years. But the greatest change occurred among adults ages 55 to 64 years; the rate in this group rose more than sixfold, from 4.2 to 28 per 100,000 population between 1999 and 2017. In just one year-from 2016 to 2017-the death rate involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (including fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased by 45%, from 6.2 to 9 per 100,000 people.-Dalia Sofer




Murphy SL, et al NCHS Data Brief 2018;328:1-8; Hedegaard H, et al. NCHS Data Brief 2018;330:1-8; Hedegaard H, et al NCHS Data Brief 2018 329 1-8