Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Drug overdose deaths hit a record high of more than 70,000 in 2017, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics released Thursday.
Three CDC studies released Thursday shine a light on grim life expectancy statistics in the United States. Overall, drug overdoses dragged down life expectancy slightly from 76.2 in 2016 to 76.1 in 2017, the agency reports.
Opioids like fentanyl and tramadol caused close to 30,000 of those drug-related deaths, pushing up overall deaths in the U.S. by 45 percent between 2016 and 2017.
"Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide," Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable."
In all, the rate of overdose deaths "increased on average by 8 percent per year from 1999 through 2013 and by 71 percent per year from 2013 through 2017," CDC reports. That included a 21-percent jump in the drug overdose death rate from 2015 and 2016.
The agency points to a troubling increase in the number of suicides, as well, with an overall 33 percent spike from 1999 to 2017.
"The suicide rate in the United States has increased from 10.4 suicides per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 (per 100,000) in 2017," the CDC reports.
"The 10 leading causes accounted for 74.0 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017," the CDC said in its report on mortality in the United States.
The 10 leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.
"CDC is committed to putting science into action to protect U.S. health, but we must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives," Redfield said.