Fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise among black Americans

by Dennis Thompson healthday reporter

MONDAY, September 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — the decades-old US opioid As the crisis enters a new phase, the pandemic could kill more black people than white people.

opioid more than enough Researchers found that the death rate among black Americans increased by nearly 40% from 2018 to 2019 in the four states most affected by the pandemic.

The lethal OD among all other races and castes remained almost the same at that time.

It represents a significant shift in the opioid crisis, which largely affected white people in rural areas in the early 2000s, said lead researcher Dr. Mark LaRochelle said.

“Since 2010, we now recognize what people call the ‘triple wave’ of the opioid epidemic,” he said. “The first wave was prescription opioid analgesics, and then from 2010 to 2013, the increase was largely driven by heroin, and since 2013, it is illegal fentanyl infiltration of the drug supply.”

Johns Hopkins Broadway Center directors LaRochelle and Dr. Kenneth Stoller said racial disparities in US health care and social services are a possible reason for the continued increase in OD deaths among black Americans, even among those from other ethnic groups. There have also been deaths in between. for Addiction in Baltimore, who reviewed the study’s findings.

The proliferation of the potent opioid fentanyl in the country’s illicit drug market may have also played a role, both said.

cocaine And methamphetamine tainted with fentanyl is increasing,” Stoller said. “These other drugs are causing overdose in people who are not used to using opioids, whose bodies are not tolerant of those opioid drugs.”

LaRochelle’s team collected data for this study as part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Community Studies, a federally funded effort to prevent opioid deaths in 67 communities hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Those communities are in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. “The project aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% over three years,” LaRochelle said.

Overall, opioid OD mortality rates were flat in targeted communities between 2018 and 2019, researchers reported Sept. 9 American Journal of Public Health.

But looking more closely, the researchers found a 38% increase in opioid overdose deaths among black people.

Actions that helped reduce the flood of OD deaths among other racial and ethnic groups do not have the same effect on black Americans, Larochelle said.

He noted that laws have been passed to prevent the illegal use of prescription opioid painkillers; Communities have been educated and equipped with the opioid reversal drug naloxone about ways to treat overdoses, and to make drugs more widely available to treat opioid addicts.

“Unfortunately, they are delivered in ways that reflect structural inequalities in our health care and public health systems,” with benefits being primarily to white people, Larochelle said.

Stoller said other cases that hinder black Americans’ access to health care play a role here as well. These include lack of access to health care and affordable health insurance, available child care, problems finding transportation to treatment, as well as homelessness.

These are all but a few of the other barriers that may limit the effectiveness of what we’re trying to do to “make a dent in opioid opioid deaths among black Americans,” Stoller said.

“Substance use disorders are very complex in how they are formed and maintained,” he said. “We need to address the enduring factors limiting treatment access and treatment effectiveness for black people.”

Through contamination with other illegal recreational drugs, fentanyl may also contribute to OD deaths among black Americans, Larochelle and Stoller said.

“What we are starting to see is related to the emergence of fentanyl-contaminated stimulants – for example, someone who intends to use cocaine and is tainted with cocaine fentanyl,” LaRochelle said. “For a person who does not use opioids, who is exposed to even small amounts of fentanyl, this can lead to an unexpected overdose.”

He said they are not the people who have typically been targeted for opioid harm reduction efforts because they do not intend to use opioids.

The numbers for this study are COVID-19. were collected before global pandemic, Which caused drug use and OD rates to rise again Among all race and ethnic groups, LaRochelle noted.

This means that black Americans today may be at an even greater risk from opioid addiction than before the pandemic.

“The trends in this paper are actually pre-pandemic, but the pandemic has certainly exacerbated the crisis of overdose,” LaRochelle said. “Unfortunately, the overall level of overdose in the population has risen again in the event of a pandemic.”

more information

The US Department of Health and Human Services has more US opioid epidemic.

SOURCES: Mark LaRochelle, MD, MPH, general internal medicine physician, Boston Medical Center, and assistant professor, medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Kenneth Stoller, MD, director, Johns Hopkins Broadway Center for Addiction, Baltimore; American Journal of Public Health, September 9, 2021


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