It’s Not Just White People: Heroin Overdose Deaths Have Tripled Among African-Americans

It’s Not Just White People: Heroin Overdose Deaths Have Tripled Among African-Americans

WASHINGTON — There are very few places in the United States not affected by the opioid epidemic. Across the country, there have been spikes in overdose demises and treatment facilities overwhelmed with demand. Although whites have been most acutely affected, the epidemic is also making the African-American community hard.

Frontline reports that among African-Americans, heroin overdose death rates increased by more than 200 percent between 2010 and 2014. Among Hispanic and Latino residents, fatal overdose demises have increased during that time period by 137 percentage. Native American opioid demises jumped 236 percent, while death rates among whites have increased by 267 percent.

But African-Americans, as a result of structural racism, may not be transitioning to heroin from prescription analgesics, Frontline reported 😛 TAGEND

The heroin epidemic in the African-American community is distinct for another reason, in that they’re less likely to come to the medication through opioids. Multiple analyses have shown that doctors are less likely to prescribe opioid painkillers to blacks than whites, even young children, for the same ailments.

Even when they do get a prescription, blacks in low-income neighborhoods can struggle to find a pharmacy that has the opioids on hand to fill it. “There’s a well-known phenomenon that there’s less opioids available in segregated minority communities, ” said Dr. Compton of the NIH. “You can’t find them in the pharmacies. There’s less medical access.”

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported similar data regarding late 2014 , noting “death rates increased dramatically for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions, and all racial/ ethnic group other than American Indians/ Alaska Natives.”

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