The opioid drug abuse and overdose crisis is not only smashing fatality records, it also is slamming poorer people and communities of color and taking a savage toll on younger black Americans.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has analyzed data from Washington, D.C., and 25 states, finding in its study published online, as the New York Times reported:
“Overall, overdose deaths jumped 30% from 2019 to 2020 … Deaths among black people rose 44%, about twice the increase in deaths among white people (22%) or Hispanic people (21%). Deaths among American Indians and Alaska Natives increased 39%. Measured as a portion of the population, in 2020, deaths among black people were higher than in any other racial or ethnic group — 39 per 100,000, compared with 31 for white people, 36 for American Indian and Alaska Native people and 21 for Hispanic people. ‘The disproportionate increase in overdose death rates among blacks and American Indian and Alaska Native people may partly be due to health inequities, like unequal access to substance use treatment and treatment biases,’ said Dr. Debra Houry, acting principal deputy director of the CDC.”