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The Biggest Threat to Our National Well-Being

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Despite strong economic growth of recent years, an even more important number tells a much less encouraging story.

For three years in a row now, we’ve suffered an unprecedented decline in life expectancy—with self-inflicted harm striking more Americans in the prime of life. The lead author of a new study for the American Medical Association says, “the whole country is at a disadvantage compared to other wealthy nations.”

While people around the world enjoy steady increases in longevity, America has been moving in the wrong direction for the first time in a century.

Experts say prime causes are drug overdoses, suicides, and alcoholism—“deaths of despair” that inflict a horrible toll, despite declining rates of crime and poverty, and dramatic improvements in medical care.

Prospective leaders in an election year must confront this threat to our national well-being that prematurely steals spouses, parents, neighbors and work colleagues from those who need them.

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