"Drug overdoses and drug-related diseases have killed nearly 400,000 people in the United States over the past decade—on par with the number of American soldiers who died during World War II.
Nearly 400,000 others have committed suicide, while 250,000 died from liver disease and other alcohol-related illnesses.
About a fifth of all of these deaths involved prescription painkillers or heroin.
Together, these “deaths of despair” have been destructive enough to shorten the life span of a whole demographic group, namely middle-aged white people without college degrees."
This is the opening paragraph from The Nation article Did the Opioid Epidemic Help Donald Trump Win?
The article covers research showing Trump was hugely popular in counties with high rates of of death from drugs, alcohol and suicide.
The opioid epidemic is a stunningly large problem.
As the chart below from the Washington Post article Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time shows, heroin is killing more Americans than guns.
If you include all opioids - things like prescription opioids such as oxycodone - as well as the extremely dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, the total number of deaths rise to over 33,000 in 2015.
Opioid addiction effects everyone. But it's more prevalent in small towns and rural areas and it has taken a heavy toll on white men without a college education.
We've long covered the "end of men" trend.
This is growing set of data and trends indicating that men are not as well equipped for the demands and stresses of modern society as women.
Men die younger, do less well in school and are much more likely to be in jail than women. They are also dropping out of the workforce have much higher rates of drug and alcohol addiction.
While opioid addiction is also a problem for women, like other forms of addition it's killing more men.
Despite the best selling book The End of Men, this trend still does not get the attention it deserves. It's impacting society in variety of ways, none of them good.