Ignoring Native American data perpetuates misleading white ‘deaths of despair’ narrative, says study

3D render of a medical background with DNA strands

An increase in mortality among middle-aged Americans—largely attributed to “deaths of despair” from suicide, drug overdoses, and alcoholic liver disease—has been frequently portrayed as a phenomenon affecting white communities. Under a common narrative, these deaths have often been explained by the perceived loss of status felt by many less-educated white Americans as their economic opportunities declined and their social standing diminished.

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