Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > On the Opioid Overdose Epidemic among Working Class Whites in USA

On the Opioid Overdose Epidemic among Working Class Whites in USA

As many of my regular readers already know, I have long been a supporter for legalization of all recreational drugs. More than a few of my older posts have talked about issues such as the deliberate insanity of drug prohibition. I have also talked about the peculiar association between a certain kind of racism and the origins of the “war on drugs” in USA. It would be correct to say that the vast majority of official policies against recreational drug use in USA are based in racism and class-ism.

So why were such racist, inhuman and ineffective policies still popular in USA? Well.. because they appeal to the belief systems and worldview of a (if now slim) majority, who still exist in a previous era. To be more precise, anti-drug policies appealed to the white working class by allowing them to feel superior to non-white members of the populace. Furthermore, it allowed them to participate in (and often profit from) the systematic abuse, impoverishment and murder of non-whites. It would be fair to say that the “war on drugs” in USA is really Jim Crow version 2.0- and I am certainly not the first person who has made that comparison.

Now, I am not saying that ALL working class whites supported the “war on drugs” and other anti-drug use measures simply because they were stupid, petty and greedy racists. However even a casual study of trends in american politics during the 1945-2001 era show that support of anti-drug measures (including long minimum sentences, onerous plea bargains, increase in mass incarceration, cutting welfare and other “tough on crime” policies) was largely driven by white racism towards non-whites. It is also worthwhile to point out that support for such policies has little connection to actual rates of violent criminal behavior.

But systemic socio-economic and demographic changes have a way of permanently altering the playing field against those who benefited from the previous status quo.

And that brings us the post-2006 era. As many of you must have read and heard on multiple news outlets- opioid overdose (prescription or otherwise) now accounts for more deaths in USA than either automobile accidents or death by guns. It is also worth noting that the vast majority of those who die by opioid overdose are members of the white working class. Some recent studies have claim that opioid overdose kills more people per year in USA than HIV did at the height of the AIDS epidemic. There are even studies which correlate voting patterns in a given area during the 2016 election to the severity of the opioid overdose problem in that area.

While some want to blame the entire opioid overdose “crisis” on profit-seeking behavior by the pharma sector, it is clear that larger and more systemic forces are at play. Even a cursory look at the location of areas hardest hit by the opioid overdose crisis reveals that these areas were economically depressed for a decade or two before the crisis became noticeable. Furthermore, many states to contain some locales that have been heavily affected by the overdose crisis next door to others that have not been similarly afflicted. Clearly then, big pharma pushing opioid prescriptions to make a quick buck is at best a contributing cause to the problem of widespread opioid overdose.

In my opinion, the long-term social and psychological effects of prolonged economic immiseration are the main cause of the current opioid overdose crisis. It is not a coincidence that areas with high rates of opioid use usually also have high rates of recreational amphetamine use and high rates of alcoholism. The simple fact is that prolonged economic immiseration of areas through loss of well-paying jobs initiates a secondary and tertiary series of changes to the lives of people who still live in that area. These changes ultimately result in an environment which causes people living there to lose any sense of hope and personal agency.

It is, therefore, not surprising that many people living in such areas turn to drugs which blunt their perception of pain and loss (opiates, alcohol) or make them feel happy for short periods of time (amphetamines). Incidentally, that is also why rates of drug use among blacks in certain inner cities have been historically quite high. There is a certain delicious irony in watching supposedly “respectable” members of the white working class turn to high levels of drug use for the same basic reasons as all those non-white people they used to look down upon.

The opioid overdose epidemic among working class whites should be seen as just another symptom of their progressive immiseration under the neoliberal socio-economic order. I should also point out that this class were once the biggest cheerleaders and enablers of the very same predatory capitalist practices and corporate behaviors that have now ruined their lives. It is somewhat funny to watch people go from lecturing others about pull themselves up by their bootstraps to overdosing and dying like the very people they used to look down upon.

I should also point out that the white working class in USA has been historically opposed to expansion of the social safety net and legalization of drugs- because they though it might help those “undeserving” non-whites. I guess they never thought that they would one day end up at the bottom of the barrel.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. January 24, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    A lot of the conduct or “misconduct” whites look down on other non-whites for engaging in are happening to them and their progeny. But it could have been the case for years, except they’ve always had the money, luxuries and resources to hide behind their bullshit.

    I am working on a topic about how single motherhood, high divorce rates and AIDS is never discussed as disturbing trends among whites.

    Yes.. now they no longer have most of the advantages they used to possess. Furthermore, their loss is systemic and therefore irreversible. However, those who grew up with belief in their racial superiority will maintain that belief till their death- perhaps via self overdosing with opioids.

    • January 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Or HIV. Most people living with HIV are gay/bisexual white men who f**k other men, or get f**ked by other men (none of which sounds good)!


      To be fair, nobody knew about HIV until the early 1980s. Also, HIV in Africa is very largely a heterosexual disease.. so there is that.

      • January 24, 2017 at 6:13 pm

        I am not a conspiracy theorist (although some believe the HIV epidemic in Africa is a conspiracy; I wouldn’t be surprised if it were). Did you know around 1999 to 2000, the Pope John Paul II told all of African to stop using condoms? Why didn’t he preach that to any other continent and specifically Africa? Makes you wonder, right?!

        HIV (in its current form) most likely started as a consequence of the use of certain cell-based vaccines in Africa. The short version of the story is that they used cells harvested from certain species of wild african monkeys in the 1950s to make locally produced versions of these vaccines. At that time, nobody knew about the existence of retroviruses. In any case, those viruses did not cause any serious illness in the monkeys. Well.. some of these viruses found a new host and evolved into HIV-1 and HIV-2. The rest is history.

        Then sex education was banned until recently. So idiots believe that raping virgins will make the disease magically disappear, rather than creating a widespread of it.

        Other Popes have followed his lead and now look. The HIV epidemic is huge not only in Africa, but India as well (two countries ruined by lack of resources and white influence). Even higher than it is in Brazil, Thailand, Jamaica, USA and Dominican Republic. It’s getting much higher in Russia also.

        Actually the incidence of HIV has been steadily decreasing throughout the world since the early 2000s. Sure.. there are a few exceptions to that rule- but by and large, things have changed for the better.

        Remember, people are still easily brainwashed and indoctrinated that any word of hogwash peddled by whites or “religious lords” is bond.
        —-

        Once again.. even here, things has changed for better in previous twenty years. Today there are far more skeptical people in world than even ten years ago.

      • webej
        January 25, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        Definitely the pope. He’s to blame for the HIV thing. Also for black people multiplying and multiplying just like the children of Israel [the Egyptians hated ‘m for multiplying like that] till Moses came to set them free. They was pained having to choose between using and abusing them or being relieved by all of ‘m aliens finally getting out of their country. Course that’s only black people drawing attention to Him setting ‘m free; white people were content to see Moses as a legal genius what with ‘s ten commands mainly to help out the bosses and going up the mountain for a backup and all.

      • January 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        Right and most people are too stupid to get that. In the USA, however, most folks living with HIV are gay and bisexual (or “downlow”) men. Even still, white MSM are the largest demographic of people infected with the disease.

      • Stoner With A Boner Up His Ass
        January 26, 2017 at 1:09 am

        In the USA, however, most folks living with HIV are gay and bisexual (or “downlow”) men

        Mr. Odessa, did you know I am also on the “downlow”, like yourself? Did you know I acquired HIV after fucking a dog in the ass?

        hahahahahahaha…….

      • January 26, 2017 at 11:35 pm
      • Stoner With A Boner Up His Ass
        January 27, 2017 at 1:22 am

        hahahahahahaha….

        Mr. Stoner, does this “trigger” you…..

        http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-fake-hate-crime-arson-20161212-story.html

        hahahahahahaha….

  2. Lab Guy
    January 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    DA, as an American, I wish we could deport all the non-white minorities to your country and see how you fare. If we could get rid of blacks alone, that would save our society millions and billions. Ditto for illegal immigration. All a drain on society. Kind of like those unemployable Muslims in Europe.

    Sure, not all of them are like that and there is plenty of ‘white trash’ to go around. I agree that most drug laws should be abolished, but you know, how hard is it if you are a poor person to keep your home and community clean? Why in the US is there so much black on black crime? The shootings in Chiraq are not done by whites wearing NRA patches on their coats.

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/11/27/30-blocks-of-black-friday/

    DA is like the white libtards here in the US. Probably does not live next to any non-whites and would not know much beyond what he sees in the news.

    The issue with the ‘safety net’ is that eventually it gets abused. It seems to me even some Europeans are fed up with the welfare state to a point but they are not the kind to take much action.

  3. Lab Guy
    January 24, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Great comment about duh-versity/die-versity:

    https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/calculating-the-cost-of-diversity/#comments

    Or maybe Brazil. They have a large mixed population. I’m guessing things are better/safer in those nasty white European areas filled with Germans and others.

  4. Eric
    January 24, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. As an African American, I do feel pain for the whites who are drug addicts who need help. Big Pharma may play a role in this crisis, but I think a lot of these white ppl are feeling what most blacks have been feeling and are continuing to feel for a long time.

  5. Atlanta Man
    January 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

    These fucking judgmental poor whites get what they deserve, Their shit communities live off disability SSI and they are always hooked on one drug or another but never the drug with the disproportionately high mandatory minimum sentence for possession. Now they are all hooked on Xanax and Opiates (concurrently) plus ETOH which kills their respiratory drive causing overdose death,and now it is an epidemic. Fuck them, they voted against their own interest for decades just to stick it to the blacks and now they pay the cost- my only question is with Trump in the white house, who are they gonna blame for their self inflicted failure now?

  6. January 25, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    off topic, funny video…

  1. January 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

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