This study, which shows sharply increase mortality rates for working class whites with a high school education or less, primarily due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, is a wake-up call on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start.
1) The study was rejected by two prestigious medical journals, even though it was co-authored by a Nobel laureate, because it didn’t explain why the morality spike happened, Orwellian and absurd reasoning indeed.
2) Opiate addiction, both legal and illegal is a major problem for this group. Why are working class whites so much more prone to addiction? My guess is they are being prescribed opiates far more than other groups. Also, the Oxy addiction epidemic hit this group particularly hard and when the government finally cracked down on Oxy, lots of addicts simply moved to heroin, which is both easily obtainable and cheaper.
3) There are many ads on cable TV now for drugs for those with chronic constipation due to opiods. WTF? So, doctors are prescribing highly addictive drugs in such quantity that drug companies can afford advertisements touting ways to lessen their side effects? This is deranged.
4) It’s been clear for a while that the white working class has been getting screwed. This report confirms it. Will we do anything about it?
The research showed that the mortality rate for whites between the ages of 45 and 54 with a high school education or less rose dramatically between 1999 and 2013, after falling even more sharply for two decades before that.
That reversal, almost unknown for any large demographic group in an advanced nation, has not been seen in blacks or Hispanics or among Europeans, government data show. The report points to a surge in overdoses from opioid medication and heroin, liver disease and other problems that stem from alcohol abuse, and suicides.
This is grim stuff indeed.
“Drugs and alcohol, and suicide are clearly the proximate cause,” said Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics, who co-authored the paper with his wife, Anne Case. Both are economics professors at Princeton University.
“Half a million people are dead who should not be dead,” he added. “About 40 times the Ebola stats. You’re getting up there with HIV-AIDS.”
This is the first indicator that the plane has crashed,” said Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, who reviewed the study and co-authored a commentary that appears with it. “I don’t know what’s going on, but the plane has definitely crashed.
“High school graduates [and] high school dropouts [are] 40 percent of the population,” he added. “It’s not just the 10 percent who didn’t finish high school. It’s a much bigger group.”