Disparities in opioid overdose deaths continue to worsen for Black people, study suggests (NIDA)

Recent data is highlighting the widening of disparities in overdose deaths in Black communities, largely driven by heroin and illicit fentanyl. The research emphasizes the need for equitable, data-driven, community-based interventions that address these disparities. The research was conducted as part of the HEALing Communities Study, which aims to significantly reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by helping communities implement evidence-based practices to treat opioid use disorder and reduce other harms associated with opioid use in New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Ohio. In this study researchers observed a 38% overall increase in the opioid overdose death rate for non-Hispanic Black individuals from 2018 to 2019, across these four states. There were no changes overall among the other racial and ethnic groups. To address this challenge, the HEALing Communities Study is working with local, state, and federal partners to gain access to data on opioid-related overdose fatalities, treatment, and other related health concerns in a timelier fashion and include important demographic information including race and ethnicity.