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Deaths of Despair

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Deaths of Despair

Junious Ricardo Stanton


“Declines in life expectancy at birth were largely due to increases in mortality from unintentional injuries, suicide, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia. Interestingly, unintentional injuries made the largest contribution. This is of interest since drug overdoses are commonly categorized on death certificates as poisoning as the cause of death, which is a form of unintentional injury.” US Life Expectancy Drops for Third Year In A Row-What We Know and Don’t Know From The 2017 CDC Mortality Report


With the round the clock media focus on the Meuller investigation into Russian collusion which every discerning person in the US knew was bogus, the mind control apparatus glossed over the much more relevant issue of declining life expectancy for Americans. This marks the third year in a row US life expectancy has fallen. This is a dramatic trend because it has been one hundred years since this has happened. The last time this occurred was in successive years 1916-1919 during World War I and the spread of the Spanish Influenza.

Public health experts and people familiar with this rend are calling this “deaths of despair”. I encourage you to watch the HBO Documentary United States of Stress that looks at this phenomenon specifically focusing on white working class families. The theme is the impact and affects of stress on the human body and the documentary pinpoints several factors they believe are causing the high rates of suicide, drug and alcohol related deaths in America.

During the program one of the speakers says African-Americans have been experiencing this forever; meaning the social pressures of living in an uncertain and hostile environment and the sense of having no personal control over one’s life elevates stress levels which trigger physiological reactions which over time damage the arteries and organs in the body.

Looking at the data, health and demographic experts saw an alarming pattern: most of these early death causes could be eliminated. “The biggest factors behind the drop in life expectancy among Americans over the last three years are drug overdoses and suicides. In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and approximately 45,000 people intentionally took their own lives. These deaths, along with alcohol-related deaths, have been dubbed “deaths of despair” by researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton. The “despair” referred to by Case and Deaton is largely economic, resulting from diminished job prospects and other personal disappointments. As Case put it, “Your family life has fallen apart, you don’t know your kids anymore, all the things you expected when you started out your life just haven’t happened at all.”

As a result, people, usually but not always men, turn to alcohol and drugs to ease their pain. An increasing number take their own lives.” Breakpoint: The so called deaths of despair Why Americans are dying younger and younger.

Again what is alarming to these researchers and public health officials is that these “deaths of despair” are happening to white people! When drugs were flooding our communities the narrative was we are morally lax and their solution was a “War on Drugs” featuring harsh sentencing for Blacks and lenient sentences for whites. Now that whites are hooked and thrown off, the narrative is “we can’t arrest our way out of this epidemic we need treatment and prevention”.

I wouldn’t wish drug addiction on anyone, neither suffering nor the loss of a loved one prematurely due to maladaptive lifestyles and psychological pain, but let’s be honest; there is something horribly wrong in America today. Despair, depression, frustration, anxiety and hopelessness are the root causes of much of this.

People are seeing their lifestyle and economic futures evaporate before their eyes and they don’t know what to do. They see the 1% getting away with causing their pain and angst and nothing is being done to help them. Banks and big industries are being bailed out, but not them. Then they fall victim to political slogans and campaign rhetoric like “Hope and Change” or “Make America Great Again”, yet no matter which party is in office conditions don’t improve for the little guys!

Don’t allow yourself to lose hope. Our ancestors endured much worse. Personal strength is a choice. Optimism is a decision, no matter how bleak things look. Resilience and fortitude are embedded deep within our souls waiting to be called up and used at the appropriate and appointed times. Don’t allow appearances or circumstances to undermine your sense of self, your optimism or your quality of life




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