Suicides in U.S. Are Up, Especially in Rural Areas

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Suicide remains a deeply strange phenomenon. Its disturbing nature is likely bolstered by what we perceive to be a grotesque violation of our basic biological strive for survival. Though biomedical science has exterminated many of the ailments which cut human life short in previous generations, it has yet to conquer the demons that haunt our minds. Suicide is a problem in rich and poor countries alike, and perhaps the most paradoxical study of the subject found that suicide rates tend to be highest in places with the highest levels of happiness. Continue reading

Drug Overdose: The Real American Epidemic

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Recently, there has been much talk of various “epidemics” in America. The three most commonly mentioned are suicide, gun violence, and drug overdose. A close examination of the data, however, reveals two surprises: First, one of them is not actually an epidemic. Second, one of them is a much bigger epidemic than most people realize. (See chart.) Continue reading

To End Suicide Epidemic, Make Guns Harder to Get

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report is a fascinating treasure trove of the macabre. Recently, it published a chart depicting how Americans committed suicide by age group in 2011. (See above.) While firearms are the most popular method in all age groups, a fascinating trend emerges: As age increases, suffocation (including hanging) becomes less popular and firearms become more popular. Why? Continue reading