Research from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy shows that deaths caused by drugs, alcohol and suicide nationwide rose by 52 percent from 2000 to 2014. Young and middle-aged white men show the highest rate of death by drugs, alcohol and suicide. The research also shows these rates surpass the next 10 leading causes of death for white men combined, including accidents, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few.
UNH Carsey Fellow and Pennsylvania State University assistant professor of rural sociology and demography Shannon Monnat wrote the report. She says these numbers could point to bigger systemic problems in our economic structure that go beyond drug treatment.
"The problem is bigger than opiates, and we're not going to be able to Narcan our way out of it," she says. Narcan is a brand name of naloxone, a drug used to reverse overdoses. Monnat says that in addition to working on prevention and treatment, it's important for the country to focus on fixing these larger systemic problems that could be a factor in the rise of drug use.