Life expectancy and drug overdose rates rose in 2022

Mar 25, 2024, 7:07 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm

A syringe inserted into a bottle....

A syringe inserted into a bottle. Although Americans are living longer, the rise in drug overdose deaths has experts concerned. (Science Photo Library/Getty Images/FILE)

(Science Photo Library/Getty Images/FILE)

SALT LAKE CITY — Life expectancy in the United States saw a rise in 2022. Americans are living an additional 1.1 years on average, according to CDC data. However, there’s another metric that has experts concerned, a rise in drug overdose deaths.

Life expectancy rates

Life expectancy at birth in 2022 “was 77.5 years, an increase of 1.1 years from 2021,” according to data from the CDC.

Both men and women added about a year to their life expectancy, with men at 74.8 years of life expectancy and women at 80.2.

Drug overdose deaths

CDC data also shows drug overdose deaths in the United States increased from 2021 to 2022 in adults older than 34, while decreasing in young adults and teens younger than 34.

Tricia Bishop, overdose prevention coordinator with the Utah Department of Health, said Covid shutdowns likely added to the increase in drug overdoses.

“We had to confine ourselves to our homes, and I think we saw mental health [issues] increase… I think that potentially led to more people using drugs or potentially overusing drugs to the point of overdose,” Bishop said.

Drug overdoses have increased dramatically since 2002, rising from 0.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2002 to 22.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2022. Sharp spikes in deaths rates occured in 2016 and the pandemic years of 2019-2022.

Bishop says the sharp increase in overdoses over the past two decades is largely caused by fentanyl. Fentanyl is often mixed into drugs, then taken by unknowing users.

“Fentanyl is here, and we are seeing a lot of our fatal overdose deaths being caused by fentanyl… being mixed into drugs that people are using,” she said.

How Utah is working against drug overdoses

In an effort to curb the number of overdose deaths in the state, Bishop says there are several programs that have been helping to save lives. The programs include:

  • Naloxone request programs for agencies
    • Distribues naloxone to local health departments for individuals
    • Distributes to veterans associations and unhoused associations
  • Syringe exchange programs
  • Fentanyl/Xylazine test strip distribution
  • 988 Suicide crisis line
  • Never Use Alone Hotline 
    • 877-696-1996

In 2023, agencies distributed over 9,000 naloxone kits to community members. The Salt Lake County Health Department received almost 3,000 kits. Utah Naloxone sent around 1,500 kits to the University of Utah extension heart program.

“We are seeing some improvements,” said Bishop. “Utah is doing a really good job when it comes to preventing overdose deaths.”

Read more:

Late winter storm adds to already flourishing Utah snowpack

New report ranks Utah as one of the least affordable places to buy a home in the U.S.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

5 hours ago

An image produced using optical microscopy shows Clostridium botulinum, an ingredient in Botox and ...

Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Counterfeit Botox injections linked to illness, hospitalization in two states

People in at least two states have been hospitalized with botulism-like illness after receiving counterfeit Botox.

1 day ago

Image of Lunchables. Consumer Reports has petitioned the USDA to remove school Lunchables from scho...

Parija Kavilanz and Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Consumer group wants Lunchables out of school lunch programs

Consumer Reports said their tests found the school cafeteria version of Lunchables has too much sodium.

2 days ago

Provo School year Plan...

Heather Peterson

Free annual health screenings will be offered to Provo City School District students

Free annual health screenings will soon be offered at elementary schools in the Provo City School District.

2 days ago

Former President Trump says abortion ban in Arizona goes too far....

Associated Press

Trump says Arizona’s abortion ban goes too far while defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Former President Trump said Arizona's abortion ban goes too far, but defended the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

2 days ago

people protest in arizona after abortions law roe v wade overturned by supreme court...


Most abortions banned in Arizona after state Supreme Court upholds 1864 law

It will be illegal to perform abortions in Arizona except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Abortion had been legal in Arizona up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Life expectancy and drug overdose rates rose in 2022