Ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is the main cause of recent declines in life expectancy, a new study suggests. Another study claims that a wide range of conditions, all major racial groups, killed many people aged between 25-64 years in the US.
The combined result of these two studies indicates an alarming need for deep research that will show actual causes of declining health in the US.
Life expectancy is a measure of population health and wellbeing that combines length and quality of life. Sustained declines in this measure show issues in a nation’s social and economic conditions.
“No single factor, such as opioids, explains this phenomenon,” “ Our study signals a systemic cause and warrants prompt action by policy makers to tackle the factors responsible for declining health in the US,” The authors explain.
The first study found that in the non-US countries, the conditions including influenza and pneumonia, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and other mental disorders were the key causes of death.
While in the U.S., the researchers found ongoing opioid epidemic related drug overdose deaths to be the main causes of decline. A second study claims that the problem is larger than the opioid epidemic. In addition life expectancy in both the US and the UK continued to decline in 2016, the researchers note.
“More effort must be made to convince international and national agencies to invest in the robust register based systems that allow timely and accurate monitoring of changes in longevity,” Domantas Jasilionis at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany concludes.