Life expectancy in the US is dropping for the first time in a century!

For the last 100 years the average life expectancy in this country had been rising, but – for reasons unknown – the upward trend ended in 1999. From 2016 to 2017, the average life expectancy decreased from 78.7 years to 78.6 years – in short, people are not living as long as they used to.

Illegal and improper use of drugs may be a large factor contributing to the decline in life expectancy. Statistics show that, along with suicide, drug usage and related overdoses rates are climbing.
Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation’s health. These statistics are a wake-up call! We are losing too many people at a very alarming rate.

The demographics of those who are living the shortest lives, however, are surprising. It seems white men and women fared the worst, experiencing increases in death rates.

Meanwhile, drug overdose deaths skyrocketed between 2015 and 2017, particularly for adults aged 25 to 54. Men, in particular, seem to be faring worse than women in this regard.

According to a report by the CDC, suicides rose by an alarming 3.7% in 2017, with a 33% total increase between 1999 and 2017. The gap between rural and urban suicide rates also widened – this geographical disparity also showed itself nationally, with some states showing a significant increase compared to others.

Bringing together the opioid epidemic and the United States’ rising suicide rates, the statistics converge to paint a sad picture of the state our country is in today.

In some cities, already-stretched resources are unable to handle the increases in suicide and drug-related deaths and put the existing infrastructure under even greater strain. The costs in both dollars and human toll are rising dangerously with no end in sight.

The situation is so alarming that Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging more people in the U.S. to carry a drug that can be administered by friends and family to reverse an opioid overdose (Naloxone) and prevent death. The announcement was made in 2018 through a rare health advisory from Adams, the nation’s foremost doctor, and medical analyst.

A CNN article displays how fentanyl-related deaths have doubled in six months, and the CDC expects opioid overdose-related deaths to jump to an all-time high of 49,000 soon.

This is a very complex set of issues, with many contributing factors and no easy fix. However, this does not imply that nothing can be done to mitigate these concerning statistics. As a society, we must do all we can to sound the alarm and tell our friends, neighbors, and families about this silent epidemic.

The data points to the truth: there are too many people feeling alone and hopeless in our society. Time is ticking. In the great tradition of our country and forefathers, we must come together before this crisis consumes more people and more lives.

This is real. This is happening. Keep our nation’s health in mind and help us reverse this negative trend for the greater good.

Why We’re Drawn to Celebrities and Addiction

Why are we so fascinated by celebrities? Everyone we know (and even those we don’t) have problems, and some of them involve substance abuse. So why do we clamor to read all about celebrities going through hard times? Is it a fascination with fame? Or some kind of voyeuristic itch we need to collectively scratch?

It seems every time we open our browser there is an article about Ben Affleck dealing with his battle with alcohol, or about a life cut too short, like Amy Winehouse. Even I have to stop and read when one of my favorite musicians, such as Tom Petty, dies of an accidental overdose.

Whatever it is, it can’t be denied that society has a driving need to know about the rich and famous at both their best and at their worst. Maybe it’s some comfort knowing that, at least when it comes to addiction, we are all created equal.

I feel that fame and fortune can be a dangerous trap. Many say adversity builds character – though, I have come to realize this is not true. I believe adversity reveals your true character and its flaws.

If you really want to reveal someone’s true character, see how they treat their fellow human beings once they have a lot of money and power. To see the results of this in action, just take a good look at our politicians.

I can’t say with absolute certainty why so many of our heroes fall prey to substance abuse, but I do know you don’t need to be rich, famous, or powerful to succumb to this epidemic we call addiction. It is an equal opportunity darkness that ravages whatever it touches.

So the next time you are reading about your favorite celeb and their struggle with addiction, please remember that there are also millions of families struggling with the same issue and trying to save their loved ones. Maybe you could take just a little time out of your day and reach out to someone you know that could need some help?

Addiction has reached epidemic proportions in our country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the cost of treating alcohol addiction alone in 2010 was $249 billion.

Addiction is affecting the famous and the not-so-famous, the young and the old. We need to shine as much light on this epidemic as we can, and if that means the use of a little bit of someone’s celebrity status to help spread the word, I am more than okay with that.