Drug Related Death Rates for Whites Have Greatly Increased, Now Far Exceed Those of Blacks

White death rates are in the news lately. A blogger named Sendil pointed out that death rates are up for Whites aged 25-34, this in addition to Case and Deaton’s findings on higher death rates for middle aged Whites. Using the same CDC WONDER database that Sendil used I found that all of this increase was due to higher death rates from drugs and alcohol(mostly drugs):

drug related deaths for whites table  drug related deaths for whites

As drug related deaths have risen for Whites in the 25-34 age group they have remained the same for Blacks, with the result that the drug related death rate for Whites is substantially higher than it is for Blacks in the 25-34 age group.

drug related deaths whites and blacks

This is true also for the 15-24, 35-44, and 45-54 age groups.

drug deaths by age group and race tabledrug deaths by age group and race

Drug related death rates for Whites are up for all White age groups:

increase death rates whites year age group

increase death rates whites year age group table

What explains all of this? I don’t think it’s that Whites are taking more illegal drugs than Blacks. Liberals like to claim that Blacks and Whites take drugs at similar rates, this is based on not-all-that-reliable self report surveys. In terms of ER visits for drug use Blacks are, as of 2011, still solidly over-represented(see table 6 of this report). The report lists which drug the individuals were hospitalized for, this follows what you’d expect from racial stereotypes. Are “White” drugs like meth so much worse than “Black” drugs like crack/cocaine? I don’t think so.

I think the most likely explanation is suicide. Whites have long been more likely to commit suicide than Blacks. The data reflects the fact that Whites are more likely to both intentionally commit suicide using drugs and be “pushed over the edge” after taking them.

[[Edit 3/6/2016 Looing in to it further, the real explanation for the higher White death rates is death from opioid prescription drugs]]

References

Sendril, Deaton and Case are wrong; mortality rates increased for younger non-Hispanic white age groups as well, Economics and Social Commentary by Sendil, November 9 2015 http://economicssendil.blogspot.com/2015/11/deaton-and-case-are-wrong-mortality.html

CDC WONDER, About Multiple Cause of Death, 1999-2013, CDC, accessed November 11 2015 http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html

Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, table 6, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2013 http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.pdf

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3 Responses to Drug Related Death Rates for Whites Have Greatly Increased, Now Far Exceed Those of Blacks

  1. Sendil says:

    It took me days and hundreds of comments over the internet for this to finally spread. Reputation and academic credentials really seem to matter more than the facts you are trying to point out, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Drugs and suicides cannot explain. Even if absolute deaths from poisonings, suicides etc. would have increased as much for non-Hispanic blacks as for non-Hispanic whites, mortality rates for blacks would have still declined.

    Like

  3. ES3 says:

    I suspect it may have something to do with insurance: unemployed blacks without coverage are in habit of using emergency room for free care and face no threat to reputation/job–whites, employed with insurance, are less likely to submit to treatment knowing that employer could receive information about their substance abuse. And they are not typically in the habit of fleecing ER’s for care and therefore do not consider it. Unproven hypothesis but plausible.

    Like

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