Opioids impacting life expectancy numbers in United States

Recent research suggests that the opioid crisis is having an impact on life expectancy in the United States

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Leftover opioids are a common dilemma for surgery patients; a study published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, suggests that after several common operations most don't use all their pills and many store the remainders unsafely at home.
FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Leftover opioids are a common dilemma for surgery patients; a study published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, suggests that after several common operations most don't use all their pills and many store the remainders unsafely at home. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(CNN) – Life expectancy rates are rising overall in the United States, but drug poisonings – specifically those related to opioids — are still having a negative effect.

Recent research suggests that the opioid crisis is having an impact on life expectancy in the United States.  Life expectancy is the average time a person is expected to live, based on when they were born and other demographic factors.

Researchers examined data from the national vital statistics system mortality file, which tracks death certificates registered in each state and the District of Columbia. They found that between 2000 and 2015 life expectancy increased overall. Death rates related to conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease all dropped, but drug-poisoning,  mostly related to opioids, increased dramatically.

Researchers found that deaths from drug poisoning generally more than doubled, and deaths from drug poisoning involving opioids more than tripled.

The study’s authors say that the number of opioid-involved poisoning deaths is likely underestimated, noting that up to a quarter of death certificates do not list the specific drug involved.

The study was published in Journal of the American Medical Association.

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