Last week, an editorial on the decline in US life expectancy, authored by P4A codirector Laudan Aron and Stephen Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, was published in the British Medical Journal. The two point to the opioid epidemic as a key driver, but emphasize that this downward trend is rooted in a much more troubling backdrop of economic hardship and income inequality:
"The opioid epidemic is the tip of an iceberg, part of an even larger public health crisis in the US: death rates from alcohol abuse and suicides have also been rising. Between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24%.These 'deaths of despair,' as some have called them, are disproportionately affecting white Americans, especially adults aged 25-59 years, those with limited education, and women. The sharpest increases are occurring in rural counties, often in regions with longstanding social and economic challenges."
Read the full commentary:
This article was originally published in The BMJ on February 7, 2018. Reprinted with permission.