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BPC Statement on New CDC Data for U.S. Mortality and Drug Overdose Deaths

Washington, DC – Bipartisan Policy Center Chief Medical Advisor Anand Parekh released the following statement today on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new data briefs: Mortality in the United States, 2018, and Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2018.

“While overall life expectancy in the United States showed a slight uptick between 2017 (78.6 years) and 2018 (78.7 years), after three consecutive years without an increase, this figure is no different than it was back in 2010. The United States continues to lag behind its peer countries throughout the world with respect to life expectancy and additional population health indicators. Only a resolute commitment to disease prevention as a national health priority will lead to long-term health improvements for the U.S. population.


“Specifically, prevention efforts focused on the top five leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke – need to be redoubled and urgent attention is needed to curb continued increases in mortality rates from suicide, influenza, and pneumonia.


“It is heartening to see a 4.1% decline in drug overdose deaths between 2017 (70,237 deaths) and 2018 (67,367 deaths); however, these numbers are still extremely high. Future efforts must focus on reducing the number of drug overdoses and ensuring overdose death rates decline in all 50 states, addressing the unmet need for treatment and recovery, and preventing opioid use disorder in the first place. The continued rise of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine speak to the critical need for a more holistic approach to more broadly address substance abuse prevention and treatment in our country.”

BPC Chief Medical Advisor Anand Parekh is available for interviews.