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Americans are dying sooner

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out its latest life expectancy and death rate numbers this morning, and the figures are pretty grim.

The bottom line: "Life expectancy declined in the U.S. for the second consecutive year in 2016" from 78.7 years to 78.6 years, the CDC said. "This was the first time life expectancy in the U.S. has declined two years in a row since declines in 1962 and 1963."

  • One major reason Americans are dying sooner on average: the opioid epidemic. The death rate from drug overdoses was 21% higher in 2016 than in 2015.
  • It's affecting people of all ages, and no state had a higher drug overdose death rate than West Virginia (52 deaths per 100,000 people, or 2.5 times higher than the national rate).
  • Dying from unintentional injuries — like car crashes or drug overdoses — is now the third-leading cause of death.
  • Heart disease and cancer remain the leading killers, but death rates from those diseases actually declined from 2015 to 2016.
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