Unexpected life expectancy

For the 2nd straight year, life expectancy in the United States has declined. According to the National Center for Health Statistics data, the last time the US showed a multiyear decline in life expectancy was 1962-1963. And if 2017 completes the trend (remember from math class that it requires 3 data points to call it a trend), it will be the first time that’s happened since the Spanish flu did a number on the country over a hundred years ago—at least according to CNN. This writer wasn’t alive then. Much of the blame for the drop is being attributed to accidental overdose deaths—i.e., opioids. Accidental overdoses accounted for 63,600 deaths in 2016. Here’s wishing for a less-addicted new year.