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The Opioid Epidemic  and the  “Deaths of Despair” 

A Salutogenic Approach

The salutogenic orientation and approach can empower individuals as political agents within their communities, state, and the nation, to address marginalization and alienation that is so toxic for individual and societal well being. Viewed with a salutogenic lens and orientation,  “deaths of despair” in general and the opioid and substance abuse epidemic more specifically can be understood in a holistic manner and provide a comprehensive treatment plan to address it.

The questions at the heart of this section and the larger effort to understand and treat the diseases of despair and to limit the deaths of despair. 


  1. Why do  some individuals succumb to the diseases of despair and associated deaths while others are able to weather the stress and even gain well-being?

  2. What is the role of the ecosystem- communities and culture in the response to challenges of life?

  3. How to provide for a society that creates and supports structures and processes that facilitate and promote individual flourishing?  

  4. What interventions and tools can be provided for the primary, secondary and prevention of despair and facilitate the right to the pursuit of happiness?

  5. What can the  Salutogenesis Model contribute to our understanding of and attempt to respond to  “the Deaths of Despair”?


About Salutogenesis 

In the broadest sense, salutogenesis refers to a scholarly orientation focusing attention on the study of the origins of health instead of the origins of disease.

The Vision 

Healthy individuals thriving in healthy communities supported by a responsive political ecosystem that is motivated by and strives to facilitate optimal well being for all citizens.

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