WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new numbers on Thursday showing life expectancy in the U.S. increased in 2018.
The CDC said several factors contributed to the figure, including a decrease in drug overdose deaths for the first time in nearly 30 years.
“It’s a turning point and we hope it becomes a trend,” said White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, also applauded the findings.
“Prescription opioid overdoses that caused death are really down tremendously as a result of our work,” Giroir said.
James Carroll, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said one reason is that the federal government partnered with states to increase the availability of the anti-overdose drug Naloxone.
“It’s sort of like having a fire extinguisher in your home; you hope you don’t need it but just in case, you have Naloxone there.”
While the number of overdose deaths in 2018 fell by about 4% compared to 2017, the more than 67,000 deaths that were recorded in 2018 are still a near-record high.
Administration officials said there’s more work to do, like stopping the international drug flow through the southern border and from China.
A new law called the “STOP Act” requires all packages from China be screened for drugs. Administration officials admit only about 35% of packages are currently checked but they said China is starting to do its part.
“Every conversation I had started with my Chinese counterparts started with, ‘We heard the president, we know this is important to America,'” said Carroll.
In the U.S., anyone who needs help can visit FindTreatment.gov to find personalized services to fight addiction.