Health Exchange: U.S. life expectancy drop continues worst trend in 100 years — pinned in part on drug overdoses, suicides

Average life expectancy for Americans fell again last year, to 78.6 years, as opioid abuse, suicide and diabetes picked up, though death by heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer, stabilized.

The data of the past few years mark a disturbing result not seen in the U.S. since 1915 through 1918, which included World War I and a flu pandemic. Yet in most other developed nations, life expectancy has marched steadily higher for decades.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday showed life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, to 78.6 years, pushed down by the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from opioid drugs like fentanyl.

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