AAC’s Chief Medical Officer Interviewed on the Role of Overdoses in the Decline in Life Expectancy
According to a new report by the CDC, life expectancy in the US has decreased by three years since 2020 making the current life expectancy 76, the lowest since 1996.
While the staggering number of deaths due to COVID-19 were a significant driving factor in the decline (it was the third leading cause of death in 2021), overdose deaths were the second greatest contributor.
“In 2021, for the second year in a row, a record number of overdose deaths were recorded,” said Dr. Weinstein. “And that increase is undoubtedly due to the ever-growing presence and lethality of fentanyl.”
In 2010, fentanyl quickly overtook heroin in causing more deaths, and now, nearly 13 years later, it is responsible in more than half of all overdose deaths. Why has this number skyrocketed? The answer is simple, according to Dr. Weinstein, “… fatal overdoses are now occurring in those who are unaware they’ve taken fentanyl.”
He continues, “Someone who uses psychostimulants is opioid naive, meaning they have no tolerance to opioids. What may be considered an average amount to someone with an opioid use disorder becomes fatal to someone that does not have that addiction.”
The rest of Dr. Weinstein’s interview can be read at Healthline.