COVID-19 and Overdoses

At the end of 2020, the CDC revealed that 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. This was “the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.” Likely trauma and depression from “The COVID-19 pandemic has sharply exacerbated the overdose crisis …” according to Dr. Ayana Jordan at Yale University. Although the CDC does not track overdose by race, current research suggests it is likely that Black people have suffered disproportionately higher rates compared to other ethnicities. Therefore, it is important that we more broadly evaluate the inequitable effects of COVID-19 in the Black community.

Researchers believe the inequitable increase relates to the ways black people are treated by legal and healthcare systems. The Healthcare professional explains that “poor Blacks who experience addiction more often face arrest and incarceration while rarely gaining access to high-quality healthcare.” Black Americans who feel “unwelcome” to medical treatment are more likely to overdose while looking for support and a way out of their addiction

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