In this brief, author Shannon Monnat identifies trends in mortality rates from drugs, alcohol, and suicide by race and sex for adults aged 25 to 54, from the years 2000 to 2014. She reports that—nationwide--the mortality rate from deaths involving drugs, alcohol, and suicide rose 52 percent from 2000 to 2014. Drug, alcohol, and suicide mortality rates are highest among middle-aged non-Hispanic white males and are growing fastest among non-Hispanic white females. Nearly half of all young white male deaths are caused by drugs, alcohol, or suicide. A little over a quarter of young Hispanic male deaths and 13 percent of young black male deaths are due to these causes. Drugs, alcohol, and suicide are the leading cause of death for young white adults. Monnat concludes that although there are political and economic constraints to implementing comprehensive policies that address the underlying causes of high rates of drug, alcohol, and suicide mortality, such policies are likely to provide the best chance for reducing these deaths.

Publication Date

Winter 1-31-2017


National Issue Brief No. 112


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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