CDC: Opioid crisis leads to decline in average life expectancy

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that drug overdoses and suicides have led to the decline of the average life expectancy in the United States.

The CDC puts the life expectancy at 78.6 years, which is down from 78.9 years in 2014. The life expectancy in New Jersey is slightly higher than the national average, at 80.9 years.

“Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation’s overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.

Data shows that there were more than 70,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year, a record-high.

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The Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017.

New Jersey state officials have also begun to tackle the opioid crisis with new programs created by former Gov. Chris Christie. Many New Jersey hospitals have begun to move away from prescribing opioid-based painkillers in order to limit the risk of getting addicted.

The CDC also says that suicides have increased by 4 percent over the last year, also leading to the decline of life expectancy. There were several high-profile suicide deaths in 2018, including fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

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