Young adults in the United States are dying more often than they did seven years ago. That reverses the trend of the past 100 years, when public health, sanitation improvements, and the development of antibiotics led to longer lives. Now at a time of general peace, healthcare spending increases, and low unemployment, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report issued last week spotlights the bad news.
Why the increase? One cause: more suicides. Another cause: The rate of drug overdose deaths in 2017 (21.7 per 100,000 Americans) was 3.6 times the rate in 1999. The National Institute on Drug Abuse displays a series of nine charts: heroin deaths, sharply up. Methamphetamine deaths, sharply up. Cocaine deaths, sharply up. Opioid deaths, sharply up. Benzodiazapine deaths, sharply up. Ironically, doctors prescribed some drugs in an attempt to minimize pain—and look at the misery that has resulted.
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Hannah is a WORLD reporter based in Asheville, N.C.