According to a CDC report released Thursday, the U.S. life expectancy dropped in 2017 due to an increase in deaths caused by drug overdoses and suicides. The life expectancy dropped to 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 since 2016. Despite being wealthy, the U.S. is lagging behind other similar countries in terms of life expectancy. The CDC statistics paint a negative picture of the nation's overall Health and wellness in comparison with other developed nations.

America's opioid crisis is ongoing

In 2017, the CDC estimates 70,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, making it the leading cause of accidental deaths in the country.

Last year, the Trump administration declared the epidemic a public health emergency and began taking steps to curb the number of deaths. Federal funding, as well as closer monitoring of opioid prescriptions and higher availability of overdose-reversing drugs, may be helping the problem, but the number of people who die from overdoses is still high.

Part of the issue is the rise in deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which are extremely dangerous because of their potency. Heroin deaths also remain a concern. These are easy to access, more potent and relatively cheap compared to other drugs, which explains their widespread use.

There is much speculation that the two causes of death are related because mental illnesses can lead to both addictive behaviors and suicides.

Deaths from suicide increased by 3.7 percent in 2017.

A warning for the US

The CDC report offers a grim look at the consequences of the changing social climate in the U.S. Factors such as feelings of isolation from one's community, poverty and lack of health care may be contributing both causes of death. Both suicide and overdoses affect young adults in rural communities in particular and are considered preventable causes of death, making them crucial to address.

The decrease in life expectancy is a sign that many in the U.S. are not getting the care they need for addiction and other mental health problems. It's also an indicator of underlying social problems such as a growing divide between urban and rural communities, poverty and an increase in mental illnesses such as depression.

Something preventing the U.S.

life expectancy from falling more rapidly is the decrease in deaths due to illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, which are the first and second leading causes of death in America, respectively. The CDC report states cancer deaths dropped by 2.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, while heart disease deaths declined only slightly.