There are all sorts of ways to measure social pathology. Here at meaning in history we tend to measure social pathology in terms of the prevalence of deviant anti-human ideologies. On the other hand, such ideologies have an impact on day to day life in America, as we see all around us--in our families, our local communities, our nation.
CNN offers today a very graphic measure of social pathology. Of course, they blame it on "the pandemic," and no doubt the attempted social lockdown of most of the country played a major role. However, the causes undoubtedly run deeper:
(CNN) Drug overdose deaths rose by close to 30% in the United States in 2020, hitting the highest number ever recorded, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.
More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. That's a 29.4% increase from the 72,151 deaths projected for 2019.
"Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Cocaine deaths also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication)," the NCHS said in a statement.￼
"This is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, and the largest increase since at least 1999," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.
"These data are chilling. The COVID-19 pandemic created a devastating collision of health crises in America," added Volkow.
As in recent years, inappropriate use of opioids was behind most of the deaths. The NCHS reported that overdose deaths from opioids rose from 50,963 in 2019 to 69,710 in 2020.
While this pathology is certainly not confined to our major cities, one presumes that this plays pretty directly into the stunning rise in murders and shootings generally, which are overwhelmingly gang--and therefore drug--related.
Americans will have lots to think about come 2022: Pathological ideologies in our schools and public life, pathological inflation, pathological attacks on election integrity, pathological levels of crime and drug use.
Will America step back from societal suicide?