Researchers say overdoses, suicide and alcohol abuse could threaten life expectancy

A paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests life expectancy in Canada could be threatened by the same factors that are causing it to fall in the U-S.

Jurgen Rehm of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says life expectancy in the U-S has, for the first time since the Second World War, begun to decline slightly.

Rehm says the decline is due mainly to so called ``deaths of despair'' resulting from drug overdoses, suicide, or alcohol abuse -- and he suggests a similar trend appears to be taking hold in Canada -- though to a much lesser degree.

A Public Health Agency of Canada study says the death rate from mental and substance use disorders increased by 11 per cent from 2006 to 2016.

The same study says the average Canadian lifespan is now 82 years -- 10th-longest in the world -- but it's up only slightly from 81 in 2006 -- and Canada's current ranking is two notches lower than it was a decade ago.