It may come as a surprise to many people, but the fact is that despite all the medical breakthroughs and technological wonders at our disposal, that for the first time since 1960 the American life span has declined. The CDC reports that the decline is in its second consecutive year.
The life expectancy of men was 78.7 years, and is now estimated at 78.5 years, a decrease of two tenths of a year from 2015 to 2017. Women’s life span is reported by the CDC to remain the same at 81.1 years.
With the epidemic of obesity in America and all the information regarding health and nutrition available everywhere, one might assume that the rise in mortality might be due to issues related to weight gain. Many health issues come from being overweight such as diabetes and heart disease, so it seems reasonable look to those conditions as the culprit. However, this is not the case.
Another false assumption would be that the older generation is losing time off their life expectancy. In fact, it is the age group of 25 to 34 year olds that have the increase in death rate. The explanation for this is the increase in use of the drug fentanyl and other opioids.
The increase of use in the age group from 25 to 34 has lead to more deaths, and has even created a death rate increase that surpasses that of heart disease and cancer. Progress in the latter two categories has been made, while at the same time deaths from drugs has increased to the point where they have now been partially responsible for the decrease in the life expectancy of 25 to 34 year olds.
One expert reports that the estimates that even if all other drugs are not considered the death rate from fentanyl and other opioids alone would be higher than the AIDS epidemic at its peak, affecting American 25 to 34 year olds today.