Opioid Epidemic Drives Up Death Rate Among Americans Ages 25 to 44

Epidemic
The nation’s opioid epidemic is fueling a rise in the overall death rate among Americans ages 25 to 44, according to an analysis of government data by The Washington Post. Death rates in this age group have increased in almost every racial and ethnic group since the beginning of this decade, the newspaper found. The death rate rose 12 percent among whites, 4 percent among African Americans, 7 percent among Hispanics and 18 percent among Native Americans. The increase has been due in large part to drug overdoses and alcohol abuse, the analysis found. Opioid use is a major factor in the increase, the article notes. “What it reflects is an out-of-control epidemic right now,” Josh Sharfstein, Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins, told the newspaper. “It’s affecting the economy. It’s affecting the entire community. This is an absolute call to action for public health.”
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Smoking Causes One-Tenth of Deaths Worldwide

Smoking Causes One-Tenth of Deaths Worldwide
Smoking causes one-tenth of deaths worldwide, according to a new study sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Half of the deaths occur in the United States, China, India and Russia. “Despite more than 50 years of anti-tobacco efforts, smoking remains a leading global risk factor,” researchers wrote in The Lancet . “Its toll will remain substantial without more concerted policy initiatives, policy compliance and enforcement, and sustained political will to offset commercial interests.” The study found almost one in seven people smoked worldwide in 2015—one in four men and one in 20 women, CNBC reports. The study analyzed smoking habits in 195 countries between 1990 and 2015.
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One Million People Use Heroin in U.S., Almost Triple the 2003 Rate

One Million People Use Heroin in U.S., Almost Triple the 2003 Rate
An estimated one million people used heroin in the United States in 2014, almost triple the 2003 rate, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000, the World Drug Report 2016 found. Heroin use is at its highest level in 20 years in the United States, CBS News reports. The report calls the rise in heroin use in some regions of the world alarming. “While the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances remain a serious concern, heroin continues to be the drug that kills the most people. This resurgence must be addressed urgently,” the report concludes. Western and Central Europe have also been hit hard by heroin use and overdose deaths in the last two years, the report notes. There was a sharp global decrease in opium production in 2015, but that is unlikely to lead to...
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Drug Overdoses Among Top Three Causes of Injury Deaths in U.S.

Drug Overdoses Among Top Three Causes of Injury Deaths in U.S.
Guns, drug overdoses and motor vehicle crashes are the top three causes of injury-related death in the United States, according to a new study. Researchers say those causes of injury contribute to Americans’ shorter life expectancy compared with people in 12 other wealthy countries. The average American will die as much as two years sooner than people living in Western Europe or Japan, the study found. More than 100,000 Americans die each year from motor vehicle traffic crashes, firearm-related injuries, and drug poisonings, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics found men in Western Europe and Japan had a life expectancy advantage of 2.2 years over American men and women. The top three injury causes of death accounted for 1.02 years of the life expectancy gap among men. Firearm-related injuries accounted for 21 percent of the gap,...
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