HYATTSVILLE, Maryland (NBC News) — Life expectancy is down in the United States, and rising numbers of drug overdoses and suicides are largely to blame.
The Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics reports more than 70,000 people died of an overdose in 2017, a nearly ten percent rise from the year before.
Suicides rose by nearly four percent.
Together, the two causes of death are the biggest reason life expectancy has declined for the third year in a row.
In a statement, CDC director Robert Redfield said, “These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable.”
Life expectancy for Americans is now at 78.6, and despite the rise in drug overdoses, the CDC report shows heart disease remains the nation’s number one killer, followed by cancer.