America Soaring overdose deaths cut US life expectancy for 2nd year
NEW YORK: US deaths from drug overdoses skyrocketed 21 percent last year, and for the second straight year dragged down how long Americans are expected to live.
The government figures released Thursday put drug deaths at 63,600, up from about 52,000 in 2015. For the first time, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and its close opioid cousins played a bigger role in the deaths than any other legal or illegal drug, surpassing prescription pain pills and heroin.
“This is urgent and deadly,” said Doctor Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid epidemic “clearly has a huge impact on our entire society.”