Nov. 9, 2017—From 2000 to 2015, life expectancy in the U.S. jumped by two years. But
deaths from drug poisoning worked against this, and opioids are mostly to blame.
Life expectancy in the U.S.
A new study tracked national life expectancy and causes of death. Researchers from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from 2000 to 2015.
People born in 2000 can expect to live 76.8 years on average. For those
born in 2015, that number is now 78.8 years.
Death rates related to cancer, heart disease and diabetes dropped. Those
linked to influenza and pneumonia, respiratory diseases and kidney disease
all decreased too.
But deaths from drug poisoning more than doubled. And deaths related to
opioid use more than tripled.
Other causes hurt life expectancy as well. Death rates from unintentional
injury and Alzheimer's disease increased. So did those from chronic
liver disease and suicide.
From 2000 to 2015, drug-poisoning deaths caused a loss of 0.28 years of
overall life expectancy. This impact was just as significant as all other
leading causes of death combined.
And the researchers noted that opioid-related deaths are probably under
reported. Many death certificates don’t list a specific drug in
the case of drug-poisoning deaths.
While life expectancy in the U.S. increased over the 15-year period studied,
it actually decreased from 2014 to 2015. It’s now lower than in
most high-income countries. Researchers expect this trend to continue.
This information shows how important it is to solve the opioid problem.
Preventing these deaths will help life expectancy in the U.S. make healthy
The study was published in