Are Canadians Dying of Despair Too?

Carroll & Carroll/DPA via ZUMA

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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.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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