Are Canadians Dying of Despair Too?

Carroll & Carroll/DPA via ZUMA

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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