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MLA Full: "Death and How to Avoid It (...for a while)." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 1 August 2017,
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APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2017, August 1). Death and How to Avoid It (...for a while) [Video]. YouTube.
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Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Death and How to Avoid It (...for a while).", August 1, 2017, YouTube, 03:50,
In which John talks about preventable death and what's driving the increase in death from unintentional injuries in the United States. RESOURCES, SOURCES, AND LINKS:

Health Care Triage's excellent coverage of the opioid crisis:

Info about preventable deaths and the roll that distracted driving is playing:

Wealth inequality is growing, although still lower than historical averages:

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50:

Info on homicide rates:

And the newest stats on overdose deaths:

Something I didn't talk about in the video that is interesting: part of the reason the death by falling rate has risen is because we are doing a better job of keeping track of it.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE NEEDS HELP WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's behavioral health treatment services locator and helpline: 1-800-662-4357 (both English and Spanish, 24/7) A list of self help groups for addiction: Opioid treatment specifically:

The Addiction Recovery Guide has a directory of state by state resources and other treatment info:

The suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Lastly, Amazon has sold through its allocation of signed copies of my new book Turtles All the Way Down. Unsigned copies are still available for preorder at Amazon at Find other places to order a (probably) signed copy of the book at

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Preorder John's new book, Turtles All the Way Down, out October 10th 2017! You can find links to both the signed and unsigned editions here: and information on how to (probably) get a signed copy here:
Gooood Morning Hank.

It's Tuesday. Today I want to talk about death and how to avoid it.

Also, there will be a signing update at the end of this video, but first, DEATH. So the other day I dropped my kids off at camp, and as I was helping them out of the car, one of them sneezed directly onto my hands. And then, as I was driving home, I could literally feel like the gross, aerosolized, cold virus spit drying on my hands, so I opened up the centered console and started looking around for some Purell in there, and that was a tremendous and potentially fatal miscalculation.

So I talk a lot about how human life is getting better, and in almost every way, it really is. We are healthier, more prosperous, and less likely to die from violence than at any point in human history, but there are a few ways that human life is actually getting worse, like wealth inequality for instance has been growing; although, it's still low by historical standards. And that's bad especially for the poor but also for the all social order because it inhibits overall economic growth and socially-economic mobility.

And then we have the so-called preventable death rate here in the United States. These are deaths that could be prevented with existing technology by reducing medical errors or getting people to quit smoking, etc... Between 2010 and 2014, overall preventable deaths in the US decreased, but preventable deaths by so-called unintentional injury increased by 23%, which is a lot.

So, what's going on? Well, as you can see here, there are three big reasons. First falls, which is going up mostly because the population of the United States is getting older, and older people are far more likely to die from falling.

And then there is poisoning, which almost entirely drug overdoses. So back in 1992, Americans were more than three times as likely to be murdered than they were to die of drug overdoses, but today Americans are more than three times as likely to die of drug overdoses than they are to be murdered. That's almost because homicide rates have fallen by almost 40% but mostly because drug overdoses are skyrocketing.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for American under the age of 50. Now, the drug abuse crisis in the United States is very complex. There is a great Healthcare Triage series about it that I will link to in the doobley-doo below, but what's clear is that what we are doing about the substance abuse crisis is woefully inadequate.

And I just want to take a quick moment here to say to anyone out there living with substance abuse, "You are valuable and deserve to be loved and supported, and to be well, and there are lots of people who live wonderful lives in recovery. I know there are not a lot of options for treatment, but I hope you will seek help today. I've put some resources in the doobley-doo below.

Okay, so lastly, we have motor-vehicle accidents, which brings me back to my Purell miscalculation. the overall death rate from car accidents has fallen a lot since 1975 with improvements to car safety, but in 2015, it actually rose by 7%. some of that is probably attributable to more miles being driven as the economy continued to improve, but most of it is because of distracted driving. Too many of us are using our phones while we drive or playing Pokémon Go or reaching for Purell. I didn't get in a car accident while trying to find that Purell just as most of the time people don't get in car accidents when they text while driving but I nonetheless increased dramatically increased my risk of dying and also my risk of killing someone else far more than whatever infinitesimal risk I have as a result of the cold virus on my hands.

So, I'm making this video mostly as a reminder to myself. When I am driving, the greatest threat to my health and well-being by far is not whatever text I just received or whatever spit is drying on my hands, it's inattentive driving. Alright, sorry if that sounded like a long PSA, it's just there is so few things in life we can actually fix, and this is one of them.

Signing update! I have about 34,000 copies to go; that's about 68 hours of signing, which is- I think is doable. Also, I am told that amazon will soon run out of their allotment of signed copies "Turtles All the Way Down".

Don't worry. there will still be tones of signed copies at bookstores all over the US and Canada, and you can always stay up-to-date on how to get a probably signed copy at, but if you want to get one from amazon, now is probably the time. Link's in the doobley-doo below. Hank!

You will see me actually on Thursday because Esther Day.