CDC Reports Lower Drug Overdose Rates While Suicides Climb [Photo Gallery]

Jan. 30, 2020
"Until we scale up intervention efforts at the community, state and national levels, we will likely continue to see an increase in suicides in the United States," said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, AFSP vice president of research.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its annual morality report that details a year-over-year comparison of life expectancy and common causes of death in the United States.

For the first time in 30 years, deaths due to unintentional poisonings, which include drug overdoses, fell to 62,399 from 64,795, or a 3.7% decrease.

"Any decline in deaths is promising, but the only acceptable number is zero," the National Safety Council (NSC) wrote in a statement. "Too many people are losing their lives due to causes that are completely unnecessary and unnatural."

The overall life expectancy of United States' citizens rose for the first time in four years. Females continue to outlive males at a rate of five years, according to the data.

In 2018, life expectancy at birth was 78.7 years for the total U.S. population— an increase of 0.1 years from 78.6 years in 2017.

Death by suicide, one of the 10 leading causes of death, experienced a statistically-significant increase, rising to 14.2 deaths per 100,000, up from 14.0 deaths per 100,000.

"Until we scale up intervention efforts at the community, state and national levels, we will likely continue to see an increase in suicides in the United States," said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman,  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) vice president of research.

She continued, "Suicide is preventable. As a nation, we must take action by making a major investment in suicide research; translating that research into treating mental health; and further educating the public on the warning signs of suicide and what to do if someone is struggling."

The ten leading causes of death, which are available in the slideshow, accounted for 73.8% of all deaths in 2018. The causes remained constant year over year.

About the Author

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic was formerly managing editor of EHS Today, and is currently editorial director of Waste360.

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