The death rate of white middle-aged Americans is on the rise, driven in large part because of drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver, a new study finds.
The Princeton University researchers say no other industrialized country has seen a similar deterioration in health during the 15 years studied, from 1999 to 2013, HealthDay reports. “We sort of fell off our chairs when we saw that in the data, because that’s just not what’s happening elsewhere,” said study author Anne Case.
She and co-author Angus Deaton connected rising death rates in middle-aged whites to factors including increasing reports of pain, growing psychological distress, more alcohol poisonings and greater availability of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
The study found death rates of U.S. Hispanics and blacks decreased during the same period. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences....