VCU researchers have found that life expectancy is declining at an alarming rate in the U.S. Drugs, alcohol, and suicides are contributing factors but there are others including geography.
Dr. Steven Woolf is director of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. He said there is a lot of justifiable public concern and policy reaction to the opioid crisis. “We are finding that the opioid epidemic is the tip of an iceberg.”
Unless an effort is made to address the root causes for destructive choices, Dr. Woolf said, it will be tough to turn things around. “The same investment that will help improve the education of our young people, bring jobs into the community and strengthen the middle class are the very same ones that will help address this health problem.”
Higher death rates are most dramatic in rural white populations. “We are starting to see a very disturbing increase in from deaths in these conditions among African American populations in cities.”