Increase in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Rising U.S. Death Rate: Report

A rise in drug overdoses contributed to the increasing U.S. death rate last year, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate increased for the first time in a decade, The New York Times reports.The overall death rate increased to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014.The CDC found the death rate for drug overdoses increased to 15.2 per 100,000 people in the second quarter of 2015, compared with 14.1 in the second quarter the previous year. The rate for unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses and car accidents, increased to 42 per 100,000 in the third quarter last year, up from 39.9 in the same quarter the previous year.

More people also died from suicide and Alzheimer’s disease last year, the report found. The findings are preliminary, and are not broken down by race, the article notes.

In January, The New York Times reported the rising death rate of young white adults in the United States is being driven by drug overdoses. In contrast, the death rate for young black Americans is falling.

The findings came from an analysis of almost 60 million death certificates collected by the CDC between 1990 and 2014. Death rates for non-Hispanic whites rose or flattened for all adult age groups under 65, especially in women.

The overdose death rate for whites ages 25 to 34 in 2014 was five times its level in 1999. Among whites ages 35 to 44, the overdose rate tripled during those years. The analysis included deaths from illegal and prescription drugs.

In November 2015, a study found the death rate of white middle-aged Americans is on the rise, driven in large part because of drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.