Black Opioid Deaths Increase Faster Than Whites, Spurring Calls For Treatment Equity

A study published Thursday reveals a growing racial disparity in opioid overdose death rates. Deaths among African Americans are growing faster than among whites across the country. The study authors call for an "antiracist public health approach" to address the crisis in Black communities.

The study, conducted in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, analyzed overdose data and death certificates from four states: Kentucky, Ohio, Massachusetts and New York. It found that the rate of opioid deaths among Black people increased by 38% from 2018 to 2019, while rates for other racial and ethnic groups did not rise.

The study used data collected before the coronavirus pandemic began; preliminary data show that overall drug overdoses rose in 2020.

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