White, middle-aged Americans are dying. Dying faster than they should, a case study points out. So what, then, is killing them? According to the Case and Deaton study, white, non-Hispanic Americans are dying from suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning and longer-term liver disease. The study found that these middle-aged Americans have managed to create such an increase in deaths from 1993 to 2012 that it's shocking. The study is the work of two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton, who last month won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case. They based their findings on analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources. According to a story in the New York Times, "They concluded that rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse, alcoholic liver disease, and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids."
It's a shocking discovery that shows America's addiction problem has truly reached epidemic status.
The New York Times goes on to say, "The analysis by Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case may offer the most rigorous evidence to date of both the causes and implications of a development that has been puzzling demographers in recent years: the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites. In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case found."
The age group for those who fall into this category are 45 to 54, mostly with no more than a high school education. The death toll has increased by 134 deaths for every 100,000 people from 99 to 2014.
Harvard heath care economist David M. Cutler points out to the New York Times he knew people were dying from opioid addictions but he "thought was that those deaths were just blips in the health care statistics and that over all everyone's health was improving." However, he now says this study "shows those blips are more like incoming missiles."
It's a problem congress can't ignore. Recently, Chris Christie has taken to discussing the topic openly and frequently, like in his recent stop in New Hampshire. And to hit home, his recent stories are now including two words in the same sentence that shouldn't be together, as The New Yorker points out, "Dartmouth and heroin. It's an example that the heroin addiction problem is affecting the middle class in such a major way it can no longer be ignored." The drug crisis in New Hampshire alone has caused an alarming number of deaths, and, as The New Yorker points out, "Public-health officials in New Hampshire expect the state will see more overdose deaths this year than it has in any year before."
And taking their toll, as well. If you don't believe it, well, just look at the statistics.
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