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U.S. life expectancy drops as opioid deaths surge

Life expectancy declined in the United States for the second year in a row in 2016, driven downward by fatal drug overdoses in young and middle-aged adults, according to a new report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

If the trend holds, “we could have more than two years of declining in a row, which we haven’t seen since the influenza pandemic of 1918,” said Bob Anderson, chief of the NCHS Mortality Statistics Branch. “We haven’t seen three years in a row since then, and that was a century ago.”

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