Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions – Bloomberg

This Bloomberg article is worth a read. It reports that US life expectancy gains have stalled, with the grim silver lining being lower pension costs

Source: Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions – Bloomberg

As I read the article, I was eagerly awaiting an explanation. Finally, the author cited a 2015 paper suggesting that mortality was rising for middle-aged white Americans, citing suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol.

The article concludes by saying that actuaries are waiting to see whether the data is a blip or a trend. Given that the primary cause of death for the under fifties is now drug abuse, it’s probably fair to assume that ‘deaths of despair’ are on the increase.


Opinion – Opioid epidemic, not banking system, to blame for falling US labor participation – Fed chief Yellen — RT America

Russia’s RT reports that the opioid abuse in the US is linked to a decline in labor participation rates, citing a claim by  Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen.

Source: Opioid epidemic, not banking system, to blame for falling US labor participation – Fed chief Yellen — RT America

The opioid epidemic is a fairly recent phenomena, almost exclusively centred in the US and Canada. Opioids became widely prescribed in the US in the nineties to treat chronic pain – now there’s a crisis affecting North America young, notably with lower education and from poorer areas. Pharmaceutical grade opioids have given way to criminal supply chains, largely from Mexico  – poor quality and dependence have quickly lead to drug overdose being the largest cause of death in the under fifty age group.

It’s quite significant that the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, has singled out opioid abuse as a primary reason for the decline in labor participation. Yellen is expected to be replaced by President Trump who does not like her outspoken style, even if her arguments are supported by solid evidence. We should remember that Trump’s Far Right support comes from lower educated whites, often down on their luck, and who match the demographic profile of opioid abusers. Finally, of course, RT, the Russian news service, is pointing the finger at the underside of North American society, throwing some red meat to its own domestic readers who are feeling the impact of sanctions because of Putin’s foreign policy interventions.

It’s unlikely that Trump’s nationalistic domestic policies will slow the growth in opioid abuse. With increasing technology replacing lower and medium level jobs, matters will get worse unless there is an effective intervention.

Let me ask an open question:

How should America and Canada effectively eliminate the opioid epidemic?