US drug overdose deaths set record in 2017: Data
Over 70,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2017, setting a new record amid an ongoing opioid crisis and contributing to the decline in average life expectancy across the country.
Deaths from drug overdose climbed nearly 10 percent from 63,632 in 2016 to 70,237 in the US in 2017, according to a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The analysis, using the most recent final mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System, also found that in less than 20 years, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths more than tripled from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 1999 to 21.7 in 2017.
“Another year of increasing numbers of drug overdose deaths is a national emergency, that can’t be overstated,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, in a statement.
The majority of overdoses deaths, 87 percent, in 2017 were unintentional, the report authors noted, while 7 percent of the deaths were suicides, 5 percent were undetermined and less than 1 percent were homicides.
That rate was significantly higher for males than females each year: 29.1 deaths per 100,000 men compared to 14.4 deaths per 100,000 women in 2017.
“If we're talking about counting the bodies, where they lie and the cause of death, we're talking about a fentanyl crisis,” Jon Zibbell, a senior public health scientist at the research group RTI International, told The New York Times.
The rise in drug overdose deaths and suicides last year were main factors contributing to the ongoing decline in life expectancy in the US since 2014, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement.
In November 2017, US President Donald Trump declared the country's drug crisis a “public health emergency.”
The US opioid epidemic ravaging American communities has cost over $1 trillion since 2001, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years, according to a study released in February by Altarum, a health systems research and consulting organization.
Courtesy: Press TV