Thursday, August 11, 2022

US overdose deaths jump for blacks, Native Americans during pandemic

Overdose deaths rose 44% for blacks and 39% for Native Americans in 2020 compared to 2019, an official report showed Tuesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted access to care. and increased racial inequality.

“Racism, a root cause of health inequalities, remains a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans,” said Debra Horry, acting principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a statement. Told. Briefing.

“The increase in overdose mortality among black and American Indian/Alaska Native people may be partly due to health disparities, such as unequal access to substance use treatment and treatment biases.”

According to the CDC report, the increase in recent deaths was largely driven by illegally manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.

Before the pandemic, overdose death rates were similar for Blacks, Natives and Whites in 2019, at 27, 26 and 25 per 100,000 people.

But this changed dramatically in 2020, when the respective figures were 39, 36 and 31 per 100,000 people.

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Although the increase in white people was not as high as that of blacks and Native Americans, the new rate is still a historic high.

Among the key findings: Black men age 65 and older had an overdose death rate nearly seven times that of their white counterparts.

Compared to the changes seen in other groups, black people aged 15-24 experienced the largest increase in the rate of 86%.

“There was a significantly lower percentage of people in racial and ethnic minority groups, compared with white people, who were showing evidence of ever receiving treatment for substance abuse,” CDC health scientist Mabazi Karissa said during the briefing.

In fact, the majority of people who died of an overdose had no evidence of having received prior substance use treatment before their death.
Mortality rates were highest in areas with a wide income gap between the rich and the poor.

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“Being poor can lead to a lack of stable housing, reliable transportation and health insurance, making it even more difficult for people to access treatment and other support services,” Karissa said.

In terms of the recommendations, Houri said it was important to raise awareness of the lethality of illegal drug supplies, particularly fentanyl, and to encourage people to take the life-saving treatment naloxone.

Improving access to treatment and offering structural support, such as transportation assistance and child care, can improve access to care.

“Combining evidence-based substance use disorder treatment with culturally appropriate traditional practices, spirituality and religion also helps to raise awareness and reduce stigma,” she said.

“While we have made so much progress in treating substance use disorders as chronic conditions rather than as ethical failures, there is still much to be done, including ensuring that everyone who needs these services receives them. can do,” Hori concluded.

Nation World News Desk
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