(NBC News) Life expectancy is declining in the United States, and the rise in drug overdoses and suicides is largely to blame.
The Center for National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for the Fight against AIDS reports that more than 70,000 people died from an overdose in 2017, which is almost 10 percent more than a year earlier.
Suicides rose by almost 4 percent.
Together, the two causes of death are the biggest reasons why life expectancy declines 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 lose too many Americans, too early and too often, in conditions that can be prevented.”
Life expectancy for Americans is now 78.6, and despite the rise in drug overdoses, the CDC report shows that heart disease remains the number one killer of the nation, followed by cancer.
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