According to a new BMJ editorial, Americans’ life expectancy is severely trimmed by three increasingly common problems: drugs, alcohol abuse, and suicide. These three factors take the lives of more and more white Americans in their middle-age and people living in the countryside.
Researchers wrote that the abrupt drop in life expectancy should be a cause for concern since life expectancy is usually on a positive trend in developed countries like the U.S.
However, unlike other developed nations, America started to not fare as well when it comes to life expectancy in the 1980s. In 2012, the life expectancy stalled, and currently is shrinking at an alarming pace.
Lead author, Steven Woolf, said that the U.S. population “is sick and dying earlier.” Woolf who leads the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society estimates that babies born today will not be as long-lived as those born two years ago.
Suicide, Drugs, and Alcohol Killing More Americans
The editorial claims that the steep decline in life expectancy is caused by a trio of nefarious factors: the opioid epidemic, alcohol abuse, and suicides. Woolf talked about “deep systemic causes” like Americans facing difficult life conditions which push them into despair and hopelessness.
The researcher is author of another study which appeared in 2013. That paper explained why Americans’ health is so poor in many areas including teen pregnancy rates, murders, birth defects, HIV, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
That study explained that many factors including drug abuse, fat diets, guns, and being forced to live in urban areas that are designed to accommodate cars not people are behind those outcomes.
Recent official reports show that suicide rates and death rates from alcohol and drug abuse have skyrocketed from 1999 to 2014. Also, over the same time period, the number of deadly drug overdoses jumped 137%.
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