‘Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.’ – Jean-Jacques Rosseau

Heart disease, cancer death rates drop as drug overdose, gun-related deaths rise

PREVENTION. The CDC constantly works to analyze mortality trends in order to understand more about the situation. By identifying these trends, it can help health professionals determine how to help people. “Why that’s happening, what factors are related to that, and what are the consequences?” said Lauren Rossen, reproductive health surveillance lead at the National Center for Health Statistics, to CNN.

Tribune News Service

PREVENTION. The CDC constantly works to analyze mortality trends in order to understand more about the situation. By identifying these trends, it can help health professionals determine how to help people. “Why that’s happening, what factors are related to that, and what are the consequences?” said Lauren Rossen, reproductive health surveillance lead at the National Center for Health Statistics, to CNN.

New reports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed startling trends in the causes of American fatalities.

The good news: death rates for heart disease and cancer, the two major causes of death in the U.S., along with HIV are all down as of mid-2017 when compared to the same period last year.

But despite this, overall mortality rates are higher. In fact, the CDC found that the U.S. life expectancy had dropped for the first time in over twenty years to an average of 78.8 years.

This can be attributed to two alarming trends – the significant rise in gun-related and drug overdose deaths, the latter having risen 21 percent just within the last year.

This is the second straight year that gun-related deaths have risen after 15 years of relative stability, with gun homicides having shot up from 9,600 in 2015 to 11,000 in 2016 due to increased gun violence in cities such as Chicago.

…gun homicides [have] shot up from 9,600 in 2015 to 11,000 in 2016 due to increased gun violence in cities”

The statistics for drug overdose deaths are even worse.

“Firearm-related deaths are up. [However, drug overdose deaths show] the most stark increase,” said Farida Ahmad, report author and mortality surveillance lead at the CDC.

The rapid influx in drug overdose deaths is due to the opioid epidemic that has plagued the U.S., particularly the southern Ohio and northern Kentucky area.
The problem is that there is not enough being done to prevent these deaths.

“The opioid epidemic and mass shootings have reached proportions that no one has every seen before. So many people are dying every day, and this is becoming more and more common by the day.

“Maybe it’s that things are becoming more publicized, but even so, these incidences are becoming another fact of reality,” said Carolyn Zhang, 11.

…[deaths due to drug overdoses have] risen 21 percent just within the last year.”

There has been no legislation established to increase restrictions on gun purchases and licenses regardless of the 12,000 gun homicides that happen each year or the 391 mass shootings that have occurred so far in 2017.

And despite declaring the opioid epidemic a “national public health emergency,” very little has been done. Few resources have been offered to combat the crisis.

“We cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction,” said President Donald Trump, according to the LA Times.

If that is so, then why have there been attempts to dismantle Medicaid, a program that has provided healthcare coverage and given access to addiction treatment services for millions of Americans as well as funded efforts to raise awareness, reduce stigma about drug use, and distribute naloxone, which can reduce an overdose?

Breaking up the program would only worsen the effects of the epidemic.

An emergency declaration is not enough to reverse the upward trend of overdose deaths the country has seen in the past two years. We need action. Legislation.
What will it take for people to take action? 1000 more deaths? A million?

Or will this become the new normal?

“At this rate, the leading causes of death will no longer be heart disease or cancer or even diabetes. It will be guns and drugs, all because there is not enough done for prevention,” Zhang said.

We eat healthy diets and exercise regularly in order to prevent heart failure. We get pap smears and prostate exams to detect cancer early and prevent death.
But there are few, if any, prevention techniques in place for guns and drug overdoses.

Unless systems are in place to prevent these deaths, this may indeed be the new normal.


 

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