Opioid overdose deaths increased 38% among non-Hispanic Black Americans from 2018 to 2019, a new study finds. In contrast, opioid overdose deaths remained about the same among other race and ethnicity groups, HealthDay reports.
Researchers analyzed data from four states: Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. The research was conducted as part of the HEALing Communities Study, which is designed to significantly decrease opioid-related overdose deaths.
“We must explicitly examine and address how structural racism affects health and leads to drug use and overdose deaths,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., said in a news release. “Systemic racism fuels the opioid crisis, just as it contributes mightily to other areas of health disparities and inequity, especially for Black people. We must ensure that evidence-based interventions, tailored to communities, are able to cut through the economic and social factors that drive disparities in substance use and addiction, to reach all people in need of services.”