Update November 5, 2015

Dhaka 8-53 pm, 18-September, 2020

Suicides, overdoses of drugs and alcohol cause more deaths in US, research findings show

Sumel Sarker

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Suicides, overdoses of drugs and alcohol cause more deaths in US, research findings show

05 November 2015, Nirapad News: The total number of overdose deaths is rising in the USA, along with a staggering three-fold rise in heroin-related deaths between 2010 and 2013, according to reports in the international media.

Analysis from two Princeton economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, shows drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues in the US are contributing to an alarming surge in deaths among white middle-aged people, report says.

This, as reports indicate, is a trend that has reversed decades of progress and is not being seen in other advanced economies.

Rising mortality among white men and women aged 45-54 since the late 1990s was caused not by factors such as heart disease or diabetes but by suicides and overdoses of prescription drugs and alcohol-related diseases, the analysis from Anne Case and Angus Deaton, according to the media reports, shows.

According to these two Princeton researchers, although all education groups saw increases in mortality from suicide and poisonings and an overall increase in external cause mortality, those with less education saw the most marked increases, the reports add.

The reports add if the white mortality rate in this age group (45-54) had carried on declining at the rate recorded between 1979 to 1998, half a million deaths would have been avoided from 1999 to 2013. That compares with the number of lives lost in the Aids epidemic in the US.

The research by Ms Case and her husband Mr Deaton, who last month won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Between 1978 and 1998, the mortality rate among US whites aged 45-54, according to the findings of the research, fell 2.0 per cent a year on average, matching the averages among six other countries — France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

However, while mortality rates in other rich countries continued to fall after 1998, the US saw a reversal, with gains of half a per cent a year, the academics found in their research. The turnround, according to them, was confined to white non-Hispanics.

In parallel with the gains, the authors found increases in self-reported mental health problems, pain and inability to work, as well as clinically measured deteriorations in liver function.

While this epidemic of pain, suicide and drug overdoses preceded the financial crisis, it, the authors argued, is possible that economic insecurity is playing a part in the problem.

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