US Drug Overdose Deaths Skyrocket During Obama and Bush Years
Drug overdoses above include deaths from alcohol overdose. Overdose deaths in the graph below are from opioids.
Images via Fabius Maximus
According to this source, deaths in Russia from drug overdoses and drug-related diseases exceed 100,000 per year. According to Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, the rate of drug related deaths in Russia is 28.7 per 100,000. International health statistics sources typically cite Russia’s drug overdose fatality rate at only around 6 per 100,000 excluding alcohol. Excluding alcohol from Russia’s drug overdose toll places it closer to the US, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and several African countries in drug overdose fatality rates.
For example, compare (WHO) estimates for Russia’s Drug Use Deaths with WHO estimates for deaths from alcohol use in Russia. Neither estimate can be taken to the bank, but when taken as rough educated guesses they may be used for preliminary comparisons.
Why are Drug Overdose Deaths Rising in Russia, the US, Europe, and Other Countries?
Such a question is overly broad, and meaningful answers can only be given for the people of particular countries, over particular spans of time. Trying to answer the question for a single large and heterogeneous nation such as the US, is no simple task.
The “Philosophical Vacuum” Argument
In the US, the UK, and much of Europe, much of the problem is blamed on a general lack of purpose and meaning in life. Whenever a civilization — such as western civilization — experiences a deep and rapid shift in philosophical and ideological underpinnings, many of the moral and ethical anchors which had previously held persons’ behaviours within certain bounds tend to drop away and cease to function. In Europe and the Anglosphere, for example, the Christian religion now plays a much smaller part in the upbringing of children than it did a half century ago, and has virtually disappeared from the routine activities of most families.
Such a shift in moral and ethical foundations and infrastructure are likely to leave large parts of the population flailing without a direction or purpose in life. Mainstream cultures in Europe and the Anglosphere have provided nothing meaningful to fill the gap. Instead they seen to rely on an ideological indoctrination into politically correct beliefs and behaviours, openly shaming and punishing those who refuse to become sufficiently indoctrinated.
Can We Trust the Statistics Underlying This Alarming “Trend?”
Not completely. These days, even government statistical departments have become politicized, with much of the manpower being devoted to purposes which are little better than political propaganda. The US CDC has not proven itself to be above such corrupting influences, nor have any other US government agencies of note.
Anyone who is dependent upon “official” sources of information or is susceptible to the sway of mainstream celebrity opinion-shapers on the news and entertainment media, will be hopelessly lost when he tries to make sense of society-wide trends.
Wise persons begin by assessing and keeping track of what is happening with themselves and their own families, communities, and regions. With a firm grasp of such trends, they will be in a better position to judge what they are being told by national or international “authorities” about local and regional trends. If national “authorities” are making claims which contradict a person’s direct experience and knowledge, he is justified in questioning the sources and suspecting the motivation of the “authorities” making such claims.
To See More Clearly, Always Begin from a Skeptical and Contrarian Position
We have been programmed by our ephemeral electronic information world to be proxy-experience-and-outrage junkies. Our 15 second attention spans are exploited by information gatekeepers to give us the illusion of knowledge and a false sense of expertise. Large numbers of us cannot be separated from mainstream purveyors of bloody tragedy, scandal, and “the correct view of the world” long enough to get our bearings. Too often we allow our heartstrings to be plucked like a harp by dishonorable opportunists of the manipulating class, just for the schadenfreude of it all, to say nothing of the false sense of group wisdom and “safety in numbers.” By latching ourselves to our “authoritative” lightspeed information flows, we allow our view of the world to be warped out of any semblance to reality.
If, on the other hand, we refuse to allow our views of the world to be shaped by the celebrity opportunists on the news and entertainment media, we can have more time to experience the world on our own terms. With a more solid grasp of our particular worlds, we are less likely to be swayed onto destructive paths of behaviour and thinking.
This is not to say that skeptical contrarians are immune from drug and alcohol dependency. But they do tend to be immune from groupthink and herd mentalities, which can often lead to addictive behaviours in persons who are essentially empty, waiting to be filled by others who are ultimately just as clueless.
It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. At the Institute, we have some very unconventional ways of dealing with dysfunctional habits. But that is for another day, and another blog.