Pestilence Update

U.S. deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide hit highest level since record-keeping began

Blog note. Jesus indicated that ‘fearful sights’ (various natural disasters) would occur leading up to the time known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (a combined seven year period of great destruction on earth). Although these types of things have occurred in the past for centuries and thousands of years, they could be identified as the ‘season of the times’ due to the ferociousness of these events. They would be occurring in greater intensity, severity, frequency, size, duration, scope … just like the pains that a woman experiences in labor the farther along she is in the labor process. We are in the ‘season of the times’ that comes just before the seven (7) year Tribulation/Great Tribulation period

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor pains that occur in greater severity, frequency, size and duration prior to giving birth. End of note.

U.S. deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide hit highest level since record-keeping began

Jayne O’Donnell. USA TODAY•March 5, 2019

The number of deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by two public health nonprofits.

The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase, the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust reported Tuesday. That was a slower increase than in the previous two years, but it was greater than the 4 percent average annual increase since 1999.

Deaths from suicides rose from 13.9 to 14.5 deaths per 100,000, a 4 percent increase. That was double the average annual pace over the previous decade.

Suicide by suffocation increased 42 percent from 2008 to 2017. Suicide by firearm increased 22 percent in that time.

Psychologist Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer of the Well Being Trust, says broader efforts are needed to address the underlying causes of alcohol and drug use and suicide.

“It’s almost a joke how simple we’re trying to make these issues,” he says. “We’re not changing direction and it’s getting worse.”

The Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust propose approaches including:

► More funding and support for programs that reduce risk factors and promote resilience in children, families and communities. Trauma and adverse childhood experiences such as incarcerated parents or domestic violence exposure increase the risk of drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.

► Policies that limit people’s access to the means of suicide, such as the safe storage of medications and firearms, and responsible opioid prescribing practices.

► More resources for programs that reduce the risk of addiction and overdose, especially in areas and among people most affected, and equal access to these services.

While overdose antidotes and treatment for opioid use disorder are needed, he says, “it’s not going to fix” the underlying problems that lead people to end their lives, whether or not it’s intentional, he says.

In most states, deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicides increased in 2017. In five – Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Wyoming – those deaths fell.

Deaths from synthetic opioids, including the narcotic pain reliever fentanyl, rose 45 percent. Such deaths have increased tenfold in the last five years.

Loribeth Bowman Stein says the lack of social connection fuels hopelessness: “We don’t really see each other anymore.”

“We don’t share our hopes and joys in the same way, and we aren’t as available to one another, physically and emotionally, as we need to be,” says Stein, of Milford, Connecticut. “The world got smaller, but lonelier.”

Miller agrees. When people feel a “lack of belonging,” he says, “they seek meaning in other places.”

That can lead them to withdraw into addiction. The new report emphasizes what shoud be done differently.

Kimberly McDonald is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in a hospital, for county government and in private practice. She lost her father to suicide in 2010.

“We are a society that criticizes and lacks compassion, integrity, and empathy,” the Richmond, Wisconsin, woman says. “I work daily with individuals who each have their own demons.”

McDonald’s father took his own life after diagnoses of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

“He knew the trajectory of where the disease would take him,” she says.

John Auerbach, the former Massachusetts state health secretary who heads Trust for America’s Health, says the country needs to better understand and address what drives “these devastating deaths of despair.”

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