Chart: Our Anesthetized Nation

What’s wrong?

George Lucas’ 1971 dystopian view of the technologically controlled industrial society, THX-1138, envisioned the the merging of the big data / surveillance state, the big industrialization state, the robot controlled police state, and the sedation of the populace. In the below excerpt, members of this dystopian society open their medicine cabinet to a face of a camera and an upbeat voice asking, “What’s wrong?”


We can debate the trajectory and pace of our 21st century democracy toward, or away from, Lucas’ 25th century dystopia.  If current trends continue, there will be one significant difference from Lucas’ medical control of the population hypothesis:  Our society is on track for the private medicalization of the citizenry.  There are white markets (big pharma and media), gray markets (legalized alcohol and marijuana), and black markets (illegal drugs such as opioids (see below)).

Today’s Times charts the increased rate of overall usage and long-term dependence on anti-depressants.

Long-Term Antidepressant Usage

Chart - Antidepressant Rates and Durations - NYT - 2018-04-07

Source: NYT 4/8/18.

Opioid Related Deaths, 2015

Chart - Opioid Deaths 2015 - Economist - 2018-04-08

Source: The, 4/8/18.


Drug Deaths by Race

CHART - Opioid Deaths by race - NYT - 2017-12-22

Source: NYT 12/22/17.

See also this blog post on urban v. rural differences in emergency room admissions by substance type.


Chart: Multi-Country Comparison – Guns and Mass Shootings

The U.S. has 270 million guns for 360 million residents. No other country has more than 46 million guns. None have our level of mass shootings.

Surprise! The US is an outlier in the number of guns and the number of mass shootings, compared to other developed nations.


Guns and Mass Shootings - NYT - 20170-11-08.jpeg

Source: NYT 11/8/2017.