Are Canadians Dying of Despair Too?

Carroll & Carroll/DPA via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

The CDC reports today that about 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year. Of that, 49,000 died of opioid overdoses. That’s an opioid overdose rate of 15 per 100,000.

But as Keith Humphreys pointed out last night, 4,000 people died of opioid overdoses in Canada last year. Given their much smaller population, that works out to an overdose rate of 11 per 100,000. That’s the same as our overdose rate from about 18 months ago.

I have absolutely no point to make about this. I don’t know anything about drug policy in Canada. But I will say this: if opioid deaths are supposedly a big part of our epidemic of “deaths of despair,” then apparently Canada has a similar problem. If your explanation for this epidemic is inherently American, you might need to come up with a different theory.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest