Via Andrew Gelman & Kevin Lewis, a new paper by Ryan Masters, Andrea Tilstra, and Daniel Simon:
"We examine trends in all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates among younger and middle-aged US White men and women between 1980 and 2014, using official US mortality data. . . .
"Trends in middle-aged US White mortality vary considerably by cause and gender. The relative contribution to overall mortality rates from drug-related deaths has increased dramatically since the early 1990s, but the contributions from suicide and alcohol-related deaths have remained stable. Rising mortality from drug-related deaths exhibit strong period-based patterns. Declines in deaths from metabolic diseases have slowed for middle-aged White men and have stalled for middle-aged White women, and exhibit strong cohort-based patterns.
"We find little empirical support for the pain- and distress-based explanations for rising mortality in the US White population. Instead, recent mortality increases among younger and middle-aged US White men and women have likely been shaped by the US opiate epidemic and an expanding obesogenic environment."