Optoid abuse and the white American death rate

I wrote blog posts some time back about the Case-Deaton study of the rising death rate in the 21st century among middle-aged white people without college educations—a strange trend because the death rate continues to fall for all other demographic groups and also for Europeans.

OXYCONTINI also reviewed a book, Dreamland, about over-prescription of optoid drugs and how this has led to a heroin epidemic specifically among white people.  I didn’t make the obvious connection with the Case-Deaton study.

A blogger who calls himself Lambert Strether pointed out that the body count from optoid overdoses approaches the number deaths from AIDS.  If you think of optoid overdose as a disease, the vector of the spread is not a microbe and not unsafe sex, but the marketing strategies of certain drug companies—especially Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin.

I accept that there are deeper reasons for the rise in drug abuse than the unethical marketing of one drug by one company.  Purdue Pharma would not have been so successful if there hadn’t been a big potential demand for its product.  I still think drug prohibition hasn’t worked, just as alcohol prohibition didn’t work and gun prohibition wouldn’t work.

This is another question for which I don’t have good answers.  What do you think?

LINKS

Genocide by Prescription: The ‘Natural History’ of the Declining White Working Class in America by James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya [added 7/14/2016]

Credentialism and Corruption: The Optoid Epidemic and the Looting Professional Class by Lambert Strether for naked capitalism.  Very much worth reading.

Poison Pill by Mike Mariani for Pacific Standard.

Drug abuse and suicide: Why death rates have spiked among middle-aged white Americans, an interview of Angus Deaton, one of the authors of the study, by Christina Cauterucci for Slate.

Optoid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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One Response to “Optoid abuse and the white American death rate”

  1. paintedjaguar Says:

    What do I think? I think that deaths from opiate abuse are just a symptom of larger social problems and that Drug War hysteria is not only a convenient distraction away from these problems but the source of even worse societal disfunctions. And speaking as a sufferer from recurrent kidney stone episodes, I think that the current moralistic strictures surrounding the use of effective pain relievers are also just flat-out evil, especially when combined with our system of for-profit medical gatekeepers. That’s what I think.

    In fact, it would be hard to come up with another singular policy that has done as much harm to both our politics and polity as the War On Drugs idiocy. It’s been a vehicle for massive damage to both individual freedom and public safety as well as to governmental institutions.

    Like

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