Suicide and drugs are causes death rates of middle aged white Americans to rise


Bilal Ibrahim, Staff Writer

Although the death rates for all other groups are falling, those of middle aged, white Americans are rising, according to a recent study published in The New York Times. David N. Price, a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor believes that there are specific causes these increasing death rates can be attributed to.

“I believe that white middle class whites are dying due to the effects of substance abuse, depression, stress and inactivity,” Price said.

Health teacher Mrs. Alice Anglin believes the issues are related to the increased amount of pressure put on people.

“Sometimes [people] feel more pressured to reach a certain level of success and when they don’t, they start to feel they’re a failure,” Mrs. Anglin said.

In addition, Mrs. Anglin believes there needs to be more mental health awareness.

“Trouble with the economy or untreated psychological issues like anxiety and depression or maybe post traumatic stress disorder [can lead to suicide],” Mrs. Anglin said.

Price believes there are more factors involved in preventing drug addiction.

“The way to prevent people from becoming addicted is through education and the availability of treatment programs for many people.”

Because it allows students to learn about how to face difficult health issues, Mrs. Anglin believes health class is beneficial.

“We talk about suicide, anxiety, depression and mental illness in general,” Mrs. Anglin said. “There are ways to get treatment and help for all of these things. People who become suicidal feel very much alone. There’s always another option.”

However, according to Anglin, more effort needs to go into preventing mental illnesses, and not just treating it.

“We could be more diligent in getting more up to date resources to keep up with anything that might be changing,” Mrs. Anglin said.

This study revealed that death rates for people with a college education are 22 percent lower.

“People don’t think there’s treatment and feel helpless,” Mrs. Anglin said. “The more education you have, the more awareness you have.”

Even so, people with education aren’t completely immune to addictive substances and depression.

“Especially [with] things like heroin that are so addictive, you could come from any class of society,” Mrs. Anglin said. “Even very smart people lose their train of reality.”

Price also thinks that no one is immune to these dangerous substances.

“I have treated people of many different education levels and socio-economic status,” Price said. “There could possibly be a connection with a certain group having less access to treatment services.”

People that are uneducated about such drugs would try to use them, thinking that they will help, but end up suffering after taking an addictive drug.

“The use of drugs by a suicidal person is a way to self-medicate,” Price said. “The abuse of drugs often can mask depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.”

Mrs. Anglin believes that self-medicating with drugs can be extremely dangerous.

“Sometimes people take one injection of a drug for recreational purposes and think it’s going to be fun but it ends up killing them,” Mrs. Anglin said.