Much is being written about the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report on the dramatic rise in mortality rates among middle-age white American men, for example:
Cracks are showing in the American Dream – Telegraph
Middle-aged white Americans are dying at faster rates, and nobody knows why – Vox
Why poor white Americans are dying of despair – The Week
And most of them contain the same graphic(s) from the report which, if you study them closely, are quite disturbing. But, the chart below gets right at the heart of the matter:
Presumably, the “Intentional Self-Harm” category is when there’s a discharged gun and possibly a note left behind by the departed, so, there should be little misunderstanding about that group and it’s alarming rise amongst poor middle-aged white men.
But it’s the “Poisoning” category that is of great concern since, importantly, “poisoning”, here in 2015, is not the accidental ingestion of rat poison or some such, but, rather, the over-consumption of alcohol and/or drugs in general, doctor prescribed prescription drugs and/or illegally procured opiates in particular.
In short, we’re not Russia yet, but we’re moving in that direction.