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Lawrence University junior Fanny Lau, 20, left, jokes with her high school counselor Patrick Tassoni, March 20, 2013, while visiting North Side College Prep, her alma mater. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
WASHINGTON: A sobering portrait of less-educated middle-age white Americans emerged Thursday with new research showing them dying disproportionately from what one expert calls “deaths of despair” — suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related diseases.