WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Life expectancy in the United States has dropped as drug overdose deaths and suicides continued to rise, a government report said Thursday.
The average life span in the United States in 2017 dropped to "78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2016," according to the report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.
The total number of deaths recorded in the nation reached more than 2.8 million in 2017, about 69,000 more than in 2016, the report showed, as the overdose death rate climbed 9.6 percent compared to 2016, while suicides rose 3.7 percent.
"The latest CDC data show that the U.S. life expectancy has declined over the past few years. Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide," said CDC director Robert Redfield.
"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," the director added.
The report comes as the United States is struggling with a nationwide opioid epidemic, which U.S. first lady Melania Trump has called the "worst drug crisis" in American history.
The Trump administration has declared a "national health emergency" in the wake of the crisis.
CDC figures showed that a total of 70,237 people in the United States died of overdoses in 2017, nearly 6,600 more than in 2016.
Suicide rate has increased over time from about 10 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. Rates in rural U.S. counties are nearly twice as high as in urban areas, statisticians said.