Average Life Expectancy Increases As Opioid Drug Deaths Decrease

A drop in drug-related overdose deaths has the average American life expectancy back on the rise after years on the decline.

Life expectancy in the country rose from 78.6 in 2017 to 78.7 in 2018, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the same time, deaths by overall drug overdose declined more than 4% in 2018 from the year prior, according to the CDC.

Between 2014 and 2017, life expectancy dropped from its peak at 78.9 years, largely due to opioid deaths among young people.


Although overdose deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl rose in 2018 from the prior year, there was a drop in the same time period of opioid-related overdoses from heroin.

“If this trend continues and drug-related deaths continue to decline, the US could see further improvements in overall life expectancy in the coming years,” Topias Lemetyinen, a managing epidemiologist at London-based data and analytics firm GlobalData, said in a press release.


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