Mental health crisis taking toll

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 5, 2018

The decrease in life expectancy is a sign that many in the USA are not getting the care they need for addiction and other mental health problems. We'll look behind the rising numbers and talk about how to save lives. In three reports issued Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a series of statistics that revealed some troubling trend lines - including rapidly increasing rates of death from drug overdoses and suicide.

The higher rates of firearms suicide among white Americans after the age of 20 hasn't offset this yawning and widening racial gap in death rates linked to gun violence, the figures show.

The contrast between 2017 rates and 1999 rates is even more cause for alarm.

Suicide rate has increased over time from about 10 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. West Virginia has the highest number of overdoses, followed by OH and Pennsylvania. "We're seeing a drop in life expectancy because people are dying in their 20s [and] 30s", Harvard Medical School's Kathryn McHugh told NPR.

Robert Anderson, chief of the Center for Health Statistics' mortality branch, tells the Post's Bernstein that the leveling off of prescription drug deaths may be the result of public health initiatives created to curb the widespread availability and subsequent abuse of such medicines.

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Between 2016 and 2017, the age-adjusted drug overdose death rate increased by 9.6%, from 19.8 per 100,000 in 2016 to 21.7 per 100,000 in 2017.

"Deaths from heart disease and cancer, the country's two leading causes of death, have continued their steady decline, but that drop was outpaced by the increase in suicides and accidental injuries, including drug overdose".

In other words, as the CDC director Robert Redfield said in a statement, "We are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable".

Blame a lot of that death on fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Last year, the Trump administration declared the epidemic a public health emergency and began taking steps to curb the number of deaths. These are easy to access, more potent and relatively cheap compared to other drugs, which explains their widespread use. For example, scientists are investigating the pain nerve cells to see if there is a way to turn them off directly. The barrier is that the efforts have been scaled up to a national level, and therefore both the federal and state governments need to put funds into making that possible. For the second time in three years, U.S. In order for the country's wealth to matter, though, that prosperity must reach the citizens.

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