The Atlantic

The Early Deaths of Appalachians

The region is falling behind the rest of America in life expectancy and infant mortality, a new study finds.
Source: Lexi Browning / Reuters

At the Reger Funeral Home and Chapel in Huntington, West Virginia, owner Patrick Reger says he increasingly sees 50-somethings dying of diseases—like cirrhosis of the liver or lung cancer—that used to mostly kill 80-somethings.

There seems to be an uptick young people drinking heavily and using drugs. “There’s just a lack of employment for people,” he said. “That’s where you find the problems with the drugs. There’s nothing to do.”

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