A group of middle-aged whites in the U.S. is dying at a startling rate. Drugs, alcohol and suicide appear to be taking a toll on men and women ages 45-54 with no college education.

by Lenny Bernstein and Joel Achenbach

A large segment of white middle-aged Americans has suffered a startling rise in its death rate since 1999, according to a review of statistics published Monday that shows a sharp reversal in decades of progress toward longer lives.