US Life Expectancy Lowest Since World War I; Opioid-Related Deaths Rise

Amid a nation gripped by chronic disease, drug abuse, gun violence, and more, the life expectancy of adults in the US has declined to levels not seen since the losses from flu and war in 1915-1918. According to the latest annual data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Department of Health & Human Services, Americans could expect to live 78.6 years from birth in 2017, a decrease from the previous year.

Drug overdoses and deaths, especially from fentanyl, saw an increase in 2017. According to an article on the data in the Washington Post, “Deaths attributed to opioids were nearly six times greater in 2017 than they were in 1999.” Health disparities based on geography are still a challenge, with states like West Virginia having 54.8 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people, while Nebraska had 8.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

While rates of death from heart disease and cancer are leveling off, or even declining, due to medical advances, deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alz­heimer’s disease, strokes and suicide did increase in 2017. The geographic divide is seen in suicides too, with rural areas having double the rates of suicides than their urban counterparts.

What does this all mean? Ensuring access to health care and support resources to all parts of the US is essential. While prescription monitoring efforts have helped, online sales and street sales of opioid-like drugs continue to be a problem. Insufficient mental health resources and other tools for those at risk for suicide is also a major limitation. Through its partnerships with technology businesses and organizations such as the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, CSIP continually strives to provide education, tools, and support to families in the area of drug safety. 

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About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)

The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health.  CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.

In early 2018, CSIP and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids launched MedicineSafe.org, a coalition of national and state, public and private partners which provides educational tools and free resources for families struggling with opioid addiction or navigating prescription drug challenges in their households.