Featured Post


I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Monday, September 13, 2021


From the New York Review of Books:  

"He is skeptical of the 'opioid crisis' (his quotation marks): he believes levels of addiction are exaggerated and sensationalized, and mortality rates inflated by compounding deaths caused by opioids alone with the far larger number of deaths in which alcohol or other sedatives are also involved."

What would you say?  I'm not doubting addicts might use other drugs, including alcohol, at the same time as they use opioids. But these seems to imply that we should only count as opioid deaths those caused only by opioids. How many die from sedatives alone, unless they are trying to kill themselves? Alcohol is a big killer, mostly through accidents and disease, so I'm not discounting that. What you would want to look for is change, how many more people die when you introduce something new into the mix.  

As in the case of other allegations of "moral panic," we have to look at what proportionate vs. "sensationalized" responses might be. To me, the number of about 50,000 annual opioid deaths seems large compared with about 1,000 police shootings, for example. We could say BLM is exaggerated and sensationalized,  by that logic. We have way more black people dying of opioids than the police, and many more white people too. By a weird trick of racism, there have often been more white addicts because doctors wouldn't prescribe as many pills for blacks.    

1 comment:

Leslie B. said...

Trying to reduce to "how many people are dying" is also poor critical thinking and disingenuous.

The point about the number of police shootings of Black people is that the rate is much higher than for any other ethnicity.

"But Black people also die of other things" is a silly attempt at distraction.