Life expectancy declining due largely to drug overdose and suicides in Tennessee

Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 20:28:47-05

Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live.

In Tennessee, addiction and suicide prevention specialists are seeing a similar trend.

"It doesn’t surprise me that we have seen that increase because in Tennessee in 2016 there were 1,110 deaths that were reported by suicide. In 2017, there were 1,168 deaths by suicide," Scott Ridgway with Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Ridgway said the number of female suicides is also increasing. In 2014, 200,000 women reportedly committed suicide. In 2017, 255,000 deaths were reported.

Ashley Burks who works as a call center manager at Addiction Campuses once battled depression. She now helps others with their own struggles.

"You never know who you're going to talk to when you pick up that phone. It could be somebody dealing with depression, it could be somebody who just overdosed, it could be a family member who just dropped of their son at the hospital after finding them overdose," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the rate of drug overdose deaths increased by 9.6 percent from last year. Suicide by nearly four percent. 

Overall, there were more than 2.8 million U.S. deaths in 2017, or nearly 70,000 more than the previous year, the CDC said Thursday. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or suicidal thoughts, call the 24/7 Addiction Campuses hotline 1-888-614-2251.