Why is the racial gap in US drug overdoses widening?

by | Jul 28, 2022 | World

On Thursday, July 28 at 19:30 GMT:The number of people dying from drug overdoses in the US is now at record levels, with the number of fatalities recorded in 2021 equivalent to one death every five minutes.Now the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that that while fatal overdoses rose dramatically during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic across all racial demographics, overdose fatalities surged especially among Black and Native American individuals.
The CDC says overdose deaths surged 44% among Black people and 39% among Native American people in 2020 over the previous year, based on data drawn from 25 US states and the District of Colombia. Overdose fatalities rose 22% among white people over the same period. A glut of illegally-produced fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is behind the majority of recorded deaths, the agency says.
CDC officials partially attribute the rise in deaths across all demographics to the disruption of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery support services during the very worst early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But it also found that opioid overdose rates in 2020 were higher in areas where there is greater availability of opioid treatment programmes, compared to areas with fewer treatment options.
That’s of little surprise to frontline non-governmental organisations battling to provide help and support to drug users, particularly those serving Black and Indigenous communities. They say many people with drug addictions …

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