Life expectancy increased overall in the United States between 2000 and 2015, but opioid-related deaths reduced the gains made, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published today.

The bottom line: U.S. life expectancy was steadily rising since 1970 but stopped in 2014, mostly because of drug-related deaths.

Expand chart

Data: Journal of the American Medical Association; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Key findings:

  • Life expectancy rose two years, from 76.8 to 78.8 years, between 2000 and 2015.
  • During that period, decreased death rates due to stroke, cancer, heart disease and other conditions increased life expectancy by 2.25 years.
  • But the increase was offset about 2.5 months by opioid-related deaths.
  • In 2000, there were 17,415 drug-related deaths (including opioids but other drugs as well). In 2015, there were more than 52,400, bumping drug overdoses into the 12 leading causes of death in the country.
  • Data were collected from death certificates, and the authors wrote that the contribution of opioid-involved deaths to the change in life expectancy is likely an underestimate because a specific drug is not always recorded.
  • In the early 2000s, increases in overdose deaths were tied to prescription opioid use but more recently illicit fentanyl and heroin use are driving a surge. That is a difficult demarcation, though. According to Stanford University's Keith Humphreys, "4/5 of people on heroin started on prescription opioids."

Go deeper

Roger Marshall wins Kansas Republican Senate nomination in Kansas primary

Rep. Roger Marshall. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Rep. Roger Marshall won the Kansas Republican Senate primary on Tuesday evening, beating former Secretary of State Kris Kobach and a slew of other candidates, AP reports.

Why it matters: Following GOP Sen. Pat Roberts' retirement announcement, some Republicans worry that if Kobach won the primary it would endanger the party's chances of keeping the seat and maintaining a majority in the Senate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Primary races to watch in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington

Photo: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Primary elections on Tuesday in fives states see crowded fields of both Republicans and Democrats hoping to make the ballot in 2020.

What to watch: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is "fighting for her political life" in a tight primary race against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who Tlaib beat by 900 votes in 2018, The New York Times writes. Senate Republicans are also watching the primary race in Kansas to see who could replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 18,448,084 — Total deaths: 698,023 — Total recoveries — 11,048,174Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 4,765,170 — Total deaths: 156,668 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.