BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Waismann Method® team is alarmed but not surprised by Thursday’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report detailing a drop in life expectancy fueled largely by the ongoing opioid epidemic. The CDC report represents the third year in a row that life expectancy has decreased. These statistics sound the alarm that more can and must be done to combat opioid addiction and overdose deaths in the United States.
New CDC Report Highlights Drop-in Life Expectancy
The CDC has long tracked life expectancy statistics in the U.S., which reflect the overall health and well-being of the nation. In December 2017, demographers were surprised to find that life expectancy had declined for the second year in a row. That drop was the first time the U.S. had seen a sustained downward trend since the early 1960s, at the height of a major flu epidemic. For the decline in life expectancy to continue for three straight years, as reflected in the latest CDC figures, is a stunning statement about life and health in the U.S.
According to the CDC report, the average American now dies at age 78.6, down by a tenth of a year. CDC Director Robert Redfield called the report “troubling,” saying that “we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” Redfield directly tied the decline in life expectancy to a spike in overdose deaths.
The CDC report states that there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017, the majority of which were due to opioid drugs including heroin, prescription painkillers, or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Compared to 2016, drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased an astonishing 45%. This largely reflects an influx in the fentanyl supply in the U.S. and the tendency for fentanyl to be mixed with other drugs, sometimes without users’ knowledge.
Overall, the age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths jumped 9.6% compared to the previous year. Younger adults with particularly hard hit, with death rates increasing 3% for people aged 25 to 34 and 1.6% for those aged 35 to 44. The overdose death rate now exceeds the death rates seen at the height of the HIV epidemic.
Bold Action is Needed to Fight the Opioid Crisis
The sharp increase in opioid-related overdose deaths points to the need for strategic action to combat the opioid crisis. Lawmakers in many states have approved measures to expand access to lifesaving naloxone, which can reverse an overdose while it happens. However, naloxone is a temporary fix for an emergency situation. Although, a miracle tool in saving lives, it does not help with preventing addiction or mental health issues, which are the real long-term problems. People who overdose and are treated with naloxone often relapse, as the drug does not address the issues contributing to the underlying opioid addiction.
It is important to remember that the exact psychological and emotional causes of opioid overdose deaths cannot be known, the CDC report paints a sobering picture of life in the U.S. Since 1999, suicide rates have risen 53% among women and 26% among men. Deteriorating mental health status, emotional distress, and hopelessness are likely causing both the overdose crisis and the rise in suicide.
Clare Waismann, Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor of the Waismann Method Medical Group, said, “This new CDC report shows that we should wisely use our available resources to address the opioid crisis. It is time for bold action to expand access to mental health care and comprehensive medical treatment for opioid dependence.” She continued, “Overdose deaths and suicide go hand in hand. Both are fueled by the hopelessness and despair of vulnerable people across the country.”
In response to the CDC report, the Waismann Method Medical Group calls on concerned citizens across the United States to seek an expansion of funding for effective medical detoxification and treatment, including for mental health care. Increasing access to effective, science-based medical and psychosocial treatments for opioid abuse has the potential to transform lives and halt the frightening uptick in overdose deaths.
The Waismann Method Medical Group is a medical detoxification center that specializes in the individualized treatment of opioid dependence. The Waismann Method offers comprehensive detoxification services in an accredited, full-service hospital followed by access to an exclusive aftercare program to target the psychological, emotional, and social factors that perpetuate addiction. This comprehensive approach helps patients achieve a much greater chance of achieving freedom from opioid dependence in order to regain a productive and healthy place in society.