Do you want to live forever?

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The odds of that happening are... well, I don't think I need to tell you - but one thing's for sure, we all had a better shot at living forever before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world.

For residents of Colorado, the odds of living a long life are currently lower than they've been in decades.

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Life Expectancy Drops Around The U.S.

According to new National Vital Statistics reports released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday, Aug. 23, life expectancy dropped for all 50 states and Washington, DC, by about 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020.

Life Expectancy In Colorado

In Colorado, life expectancy dropped by about 1.7 years from 2019 to 2020. Although, that measure dropped again in 2021.

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In 2020, life expectancy in Colorado stood at an average of 78.4 years; in 2021, that number dropped to 78. 

“We haven't seen drops in life expectancy on this scale since World War II, and that's the important point because people sometimes don't think these numbers sound very big, especially when you're talking about fractional decreases in life expectancy,” Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University said to BuzzFeed News, in regards to the CDC's newly released life expectancy reports.

“But they’re actually representing large losses of life.”

Main Causes Of Death In Colorado

According to U.S. News and World Report, key drivers for the decline in life expectancy among Colorado residents were COVID-19 and overdose deaths.

COVID-19 remained the third leading cause of death among Colorado residents in 2021, as it was in 2020, while unintentional injuries - which include all accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, and falls, remained the fourth leading cause of death among Colorado residents in 2021,

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In addition, suicide remained the eighth leading cause of death in the state, while homicide moved from 17th to 16th leading cause. Chronic diseases continue to make up the remainder of the state's leading causes of death, as per reports.

“The biggest driver of the increases in drug overdose deaths in the past few years has indeed been fentanyl,” Kirk Bol, Colorado's Vital Statistics Program manager said.

What makes Fentanyl so deadly? Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. It’s increasingly being found in other drugs laced with fentanyl, causing users to overdose accidentally. 

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In 2017, Colorado recorded 81 fentanyl deaths. In 2021, the number rose to 912, making up half of all overdose deaths. Bol called the spike in deaths a “shocking increase.”

In 2021, there were 1,881 total drug overdose deaths recorded in Colorado — an increase of a few hundred compared to the 1,477 deaths recorded in Colorado the year prior.

Overall, Colorado comes in at #12 among the states with the highest life expectancy rate, as per the CDC's latest report. 

If you look at it that way, we've got a better chance at living forever than most *fingers crossed*.

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