Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for 2017 overdose deaths — CDC

Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for 2017 overdose deaths — CDC

Drug overdose deaths among USA residents totaled 70,237 in 2017, almost 6,600 more than in 2016, a government report finds.

Though deaths from overdoses of all types of opioids have increased since 1999, the change in mortality induced by synthetic opioids other than methadone, meaning products like fentanyl, has had the most alarming upswing.

A new report released Thursday by the CDC reveals that the age-adjusted suicide rate increased 33 percent from 1999 to 2017.

Drug overdose deaths also continued to climb, surpassing 70,000 past year, in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in US history.

"The use of prescription medications is exploding and we also know that particular age group of 18 to 25 is much more prone to begin experimenting with heroin as well", she said. The increase showed up in all age categories except for people over 75, where there was a decrease.

West Virginia's rate, the highest in the nation, was 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people. "Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide".

Place also mattered when it came to drug overdose deaths, with some states registering higher numbers than others, the report shows. Cancer deaths declined by 2.1 percent in 2017, CNN noted. Most of the overdoses involved opioids of some sort, and the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics recorded a 45 percent increase in deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and tramadol.

Life expectancy dropped to 78.6 years in 2017, down from 78.7 in 2016, contributing to the longest-running decline in USA history since World War I, when a flu pandemic killed nearly 700,000 people nationwide between 1915 and 1918.

As usual, women will continue to outlive men. For females, life expectancy remained the same at 81.1.

The number of resident deaths recorded in the nation totaled more than 2.8 million in 2017, about 69,000 more than in 2016, a second government report shows. Significantly, it is arguably America's most successful populations-men generally, and white women and men both-who are experiencing the decline, yet another indication of serious issues within America's majority population. Upticks in deaths by suicide and accidental injuries (including drug overdoses), as well as due to conditions including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, influenza and pneumonia, have outpaced reductions in fatal heart disease and cancer, the country's two leading causes of death. That number dropped sharply between 2013, when the Affordable Care Act kicked in, and 2016. But it suggests that the decrease in 2015 was more than a blip-and it points to unfolding stories about health and death in the United States.

Suicide rates also continued a worrying rise. However, women still commit suicide less often than men, at a rate of six per 100,000. "We need to start to see this rate going down". In 1999, the death rate was just 6.1 per 100,000.

The figure was 6,600 higher than in the previous 12 months.

Most alarming is that suicide rate in the most rural counties in the now 1.8 times the rate in the most urban counties: with the rate in most rural counties at 20.0 per 100,000, and in the most urban at 11.1 per 100,000.

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