A surge in overdose deaths caused by fentanyl and other opioid painkillers has caused life expectancies in the United States to fall for two years in a row, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency says that it was the first time that life expectancy in the U.S. has declined two years in a row for more than a generation.
The nationwide opioid epidemic has helped fuel a surge in fatal overdoses in the U.S. Last year, about 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. Approximately 42,000 of these deaths were caused by opioid overdoses, a drastic increase from previous figures released by the CDC.
According to the CDC, one of the key drivers of the surge in opioid overdose deaths is synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Between 2015 and 2016, the national death rate for fentanyl overdoses doubled, and will probably increase more when figures from 2017 are compiled. About 19,000 of the 42,000 opioid overdose deaths last year were caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
As a result of this surge in deaths caused by prescription and synthetic opioids, overall life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row. Although the overall decline was small – falling 0.1 years from the previous average life expectancy of 78.6 years – the two-year consecutive decline is the first time in decades that like expectancy has fallen in consecutive years in the U.S.
Health experts say that the number of overdose deaths caused by fentanyl and other opioid painkillers is likely to continue to rise in 2017 through 2018. Many public health officials have gone on record as saying that the devastation caused by the opioid crisis is the worst that they have ever seen.
Leading health organizations in the U.S. have begun taking steps to limit the impact of the opioid epidemic, including expanding the availability of treatment options and curbing the supply of opioid drugs in the U.S. However, officials say that these measures are still a long way from curbing the devastation created by the opioid crisis in the U.S.
Fentanyl Overdose Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson
If you have lost a loved one to an overdose caused by fentanyl or other opioid medications, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug, the doctor who prescribed it, or the pharmacy or distributor that issued the prescription. The first step in taking legal action is to consult with an attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps of filing a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson has filed dozens of lawsuits on behalf of victims of opioid overdoses. Our law firm has handled more lawsuits involving fentanyl than all other law firms in the country combined. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has also filed hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of patients who have been injured by other dangerous drugs or defective medical products.
For more information about the fentanyl lawsuits filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson – and to find out whether you may qualify to file a case – contact our law office by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.