Understanding Drug Overdose — The # 1 Killer of Americans Under 50

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday morning. Rosenstein, along with acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg, and other prominent officials in law enforcement addressed the media at the DEA’s headquarters in Arlington, VA to discuss the ongoing response to the nation’s staggering opioid epidemic.

There’s nothing the government can do about rampant drug abuse. Lack of government programs and money do not cause people to take so many drugs that they die from them. Government spending and control over every aspect of people’s lives has grown massively in the last decade. If anything, we should look at whether all that spending and control increases drug abuse, rather than curbing it.

People abuse drugs for basically one core reason: They lack confidence in the use of their minds. Lack of confidence in the use of your reasoning, thinking mind results in intolerable levels of anxiety. One of the ways to cope with this anxiety is drug abuse. Yes, it’s maladaptive coping. But it’s an attempt to cope, just the same. When that attempt turns into a habit, it results in all the problems associated with heavy drug abuse, including (ultimately) death.

Many mental health and substance abuse professionals refer to drug or alcohol abuse as “slow suicide”. For the worst drug abusers, it’s just that. It’s not that the person abusing drugs intends to kill him- or herself, at least at first. But it’s a long, dragged out negligence that results in the death of one’s dreams or goals, assuming one ever had any, and ultimately death itself.

Family stability matters in the prevention of drug abuse. But education matters too. We’re not facing the fact that the vast majority of children are herded into government-run schools from age 5 or 6 all the way into young adulthood. Why will nobody ask the question: If drug abuse stems from a massive level of anxiety stemming from lack of confidence in the use of one’s rational mind, then what does this say about the state of government-run education in our society? Throwing more money at the problem will not resolve it. Billions upon billions more have been thrown at the problem decade after decade. The more we spend on government-run education, the more young people die of drug addiction and overdose before the age of 50. While it’s true that correlation does not equal causation, isn’t it at least reasonable to consider that something has gone seriously wrong with the way children are reared and educated under our government-run system of schools and welfare?

If the Trump administration wishes to play a role in reducing deaths due to drug overdoses for people under 50, the best thing would be to get the government the hell out of the way. It’s still up to people to save themselves, in the end. But if the dysfunction and toxicity of government programs — including the sacred cow of government-run schools — were put aside, young people would finally have the incentives and self-responsibility to develop and utilize their minds to the fullest.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The people who claim to have good intentions by throwing more and more of other people’s money at public schools and welfare have gotten us into this mess. At some point we have to ask ourselves: How good are those intentions?

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