US drug overdose deaths rising fast among Black and Indigenous people
A new analysis is the US finds that drug overdose deaths increased by 44% among Black people in 2020 compared with the year prior.
The jump in drug overdose deaths was almost as sharp for American indigenous people — groups that together saw a 39% increase over the previous year.
The steep rise in deaths among Black and Indigenous people far outpaced what was seen among white people during the same time period.
Whites had a 22% year-over-year increase in drug overdoses in 2020.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report points out that these differences in overdose deaths is partly due to health care discrimination in the country.
"The disproportionate increase in overdose death rates among Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Native people may partly be due to health inequities like unequal access to substance use treatment and treatment biases," Dr. Debra Houry, acting principal deputy director at the CDC, told reporters on Tuesday.
Altogether, more than 91,000 people in the US died because of drug overdoses in 2020, a historic rise of 30% compared with the year before.
While white people had the largest number of overdose deaths that year (more than 26,000 people), the rate of increase in deaths was the highest among Black and Indigenous people, a trend that has been documented in other recent studies.