Greenville counselor looks at reasons behind biggest life expectancy drop since WWII

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A Greenville counselor is weighing in on a new report showing life expectancy in 2020 dropped a year and a half following the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Black and Hispanic Americans, the drop was even worse: a decrease of 3 years.

The CDC, which released their findings Wednesday, said much of it has to do with deaths from COVID-19 and from substance overdoses.

The CDC reported an almost 30% increase in people who died from an overdose from 2019 to 2020.

“Life was already difficult before the pandemic hit, and then you add that on top of it, and it just exacerbates everything,” explained Jennifer Harrup, the director at East Coast Counseling who is dually licensed in substance abuse and mental health counseling.

She said people lost jobs and relationships during the pandemic, situations that can act as triggers.

“That would cause them to maybe isolate more or go get into those habits that they had pre-pandemic, whether it was using or drinking,” said Harrup.

Additionally, pandemic precautions like quarantine and social distancing may have created a barrier between people and their therapists or support systems.

Harrup emphasized the need to understand one another, be kind and educate ourselves on local resources to help with substance abuse.

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