White sui­cides, drug use cause mor­tal­ity spike

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

A new study re­leased by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­di­cates that white peo­ple are dy­ing at alarm­ing rates by sui­cide and drug over­dose.

Al­though the white mor­tal­ity rate as a whole de­creased be­tween 2000 and 2014 — largely due to ad­vances in treat­ment for heart dis­ease and cancer — the Na­tional Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics re­port showed gains made by white Amer­i­cans trailed those made by other groups.

While the white life ex­pectancy in­creased by 1.4 years over that span (to 78.8 years), black Amer­i­cans gained 3.6 years of life on av­er­age (75.2 years), and His­panic Amer­i­cans added an ex­tra 2.6 years (81.8 years).

Not only that, but the gains in white life ex­pectancy were distributed coun­ter­in­tu­itively, with those be­tween the ages of 65 and 84 re­ceiv­ing the lion’s share of the ex­tra years. White Amer­i­cans be­tween the ages of 25 and 54 ac­tu­ally have a higher mor­tal­ity rate than their coun­ter­parts 14 years prior.

The study pins the mor­tal­ity in­crease among young adult and mid­dle-aged white Amer­i­cans on deaths due to un­in­ten­tional in­juries, sui­cides and chronic liver dis­ease stem­ming from drug use.

In the un­in­ten­tional in­juries sub­cat­e­gory, white Amer­i­cans were less likely to die in car ac­ci­dents but more likely to die from un­in­ten­tional falls and poi­son­ings due to drugs and al­co­hol.

While a de­crease in fa­tal­i­ties from car ac­ci­dents added .153 years to the white life ex­pectancy, deaths due to un­in­ten­tional poi­son­ings sub­tracted .338 years from the white life av­er­age.

Deaths due to un­in­ten­tional in­juries were 63.3 per­cent more likely for white Amer­i­cans be­tween the ages of 25 and 34; 41.5 per­cent more likely for those be­tween the ages of 35 and 44; and 73.5 per­cent more likely for those be­tween the ages of 45 and 54.

As for sui­cides, white Amer­i­cans be­tween the ages of 25 and 34 are 37.3 per­cent more likely to take their lives; 30.2 per­cent more likely be­tween the ages of 35 and 44; and 57.5 per­cent more likely be­tween the ages of 45 and 54.

The death rate due to chronic liver dis­ease in­creased by 30.9 per­cent for white Amer­i­cans in the 45 to 54 age co­hort.

“In­creases in mor­tal­ity due to un­in­ten­tional poi­son­ings, sui­cide, and chronic liver dis­ease di­rectly af­fected the change in life ex­pectancy over the past 15 years for the non-His­panic white pop­u­la­tion,” con­clude the study’s au­thors — El­iz­a­beth Arias, Brigham A. Bas­tian and Ken­neth D. Kochanek.

The phe­nom­e­non of de­cel­er­at­ing white mor­tal­ity gains has been doc­u­mented in sev­eral other stud­ies, lead­ing re­searchers to ques­tion why a group per­ceived to be high on the so­cioe­co­nomic lad­der is dy­ing off.

A De­cem­ber 2015 re­port pub­lished by Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity re­searchers Anne Case and An­gus Deaton at­trib­uted the midlife mor­tal­ity spike to “grow­ing dis­tress” among white Amer­i­cans, due in part to dif­fi­culty find­ing work.

“Self-re­ported de­clines in health, men­tal health, and abil­ity to con­duct ac­tiv­i­ties of daily liv­ing, and in­creases in chronic pain and in­abil­ity to work, as well as clin­i­cally mea­sured de­te­ri­o­ra­tions in liver func­tion, all point to grow­ing dis­tress in this pop­u­la­tion,” the re­searchers con­cluded.

The re­searchers termed the phe­nom­e­non a “quiet epi­demic” that has led to the deaths of 500,000 white Amer­i­cans who should not have died.

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