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New report shows life expectancy is declining in the U.S.

Opioid epidemic contributing to life expectancy decline in U.S./WPDE

New numbers released from the Centers for Disease Control show life expectancy in the U.S. is declining.

Two major factors are suicide and drug overdoses. There were 47,000 reported suicide cases in 2017 and more than 70,000 drug overdoses, according to the CDC.

There were more than 2.8 million deaths in the U.S. in 2017, which averages out to there being more deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago.

"It's heartbreaking, makes me want to cry," said Wilmington, N.C. resident, Andy Harker.

A Myrtle Beach mental health counselor said main stream media is a major influence on suicidal activity.

"Now things are more on the news and it also can be considered even more socially acceptable with famous people that have committed suicide, and you have the show '13 Reasons Why' so it's more readily seen by teenagers even to put that thought in their mind or young adults," said Sandy Quast of Coastal Haven Counseling.

Mental health experts say social isolation and social media are also triggers for some.

"When they're on those social media channels, if they're feeling depressed, worthlessness, hopelessness and then they're looking at all these wonderful lives of all their friends and family," said Quast.

As for drug overdoses, Quast said in some cases, it starts with depression, and then for people who use opioids to relax or kill the pain, one pill leads to another, then an accidental overdose death transpires.

"Extended use of drugs, you know opioids for instance, their happiness level, let's just say, started at a ten might be their normal. Well, overtime, when they take the drug they feel like they're at a ten or higher and then it wears off and now they're at a seven," said Quast.

Harker stated there's only one way to end the life expectancy decline and the contributing factors.

"Go around and tell people and witness to people about the good Lord because he can save you. That's the only one," said Harker.

There were more than 70,000 drug overdoses in 2017 making last year the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in U.S. History.

Experts say the nation is in the longest period of declining life expectancy since the early 1900's.

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In case you missed it, our National Town Hall on the opioid crisis will air Saturday, Dec. 1 at 12:05 a.m. on WPDE.


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