Tag Archives: income

DEA: Heroin now increasing everywhere in America

The DEA today issued a press release that begins like this: “Heroin use has increased across the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. The greatest increases have occurred in groups with historically lower rates of heroin use, including women and people with private insurance and higher incomes.”cropped-IMG_4841.jpg

The release discusses a new report by the FDA and CDC about heroin’s use across the country.

The only fact it appears to leave out is that almost all the new addicts are white.

Still, for a long time, heroin has seemed to me a way of talking about America.

One reason for that is what the DEA expresses – that heroin is so widespread and in areas and populations that never knew it.

But heroin is also a way of talking about our loss of community and publicly shared assets – streets, parks, etc. Of a retreat indoors, figuratively and literally.

I believe heroin is the final expression, the final extension of our multi-decade exaltation of the free market, the individual and consumption. How else to view a drug that turns everyone addicted to it into self-absorbed hyperconsumers?

That’s why I wrote Dreamland and didn’t have one addict shooting up. To do so would have been to distract from the larger point, that this drug thrives in areas without much community feel, community anchor – the area could be poor, could be wealthy. What they share is a lack of community and public interaction and encounter.


Filed under Drugs, The Heroin Heartland

CULTURE: Parent-attention gap behind class divide

Fascinating piece in The Atlantic online this morning about what’s behind the class chasm in America.

The magazine holds that a major reason for the class divide in this country is the number of kids born into single-parent families. Or put another way, single-parent families and less parental time spent with kids are both cause and effect of the class divide.

More-educated people are more likely to get married later, and form lasting two-parent families, the magazine states. Educated parents are spending more time with their kids. (A frightening statistic is that 72 percent of African-American children are born into single-parent families; the number is 53 percent for Hispanics and 33 percent for whites, according to the magazine.)

A divorce divide — the growing amount of divorce among less-educated parents — is a factor in the class divide as well, the magazine states.

According to the magazine: “It’s no coincidence that rising inequality in the home has been occurring at precisely the same time as rising inequality in the workplace. These two kinds of social polarization – one cultural, the other economic – are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.”

The lesson: Those who invest in themselves and wait to get married and do not have children out of wedlock or some committed long-term relationship, do better economically. Or the flip side: more education and a better economic situation lead to wiser economic choices, such as waiting for a committed relationship to have children, and having fewer of them.

As someone who waited until 46 to get married and have a child — and then only one — I find this no surprise.

In many areas of highest crime and greatest poverty, young, single-parent families predominate — as they do among gang members I’ve interviewed.

Men, in particular, aren’t ready to get married, emotionally or economically, until their 30s at least, I’ve always felt, though I know this sounds like I’m drawing a universal case from my own life example.


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Filed under Culture