NIDA-Supported Research Finds Fentanyl and COVID-19 Altered Demographics of Overdose Deaths in the US

In this new research, Pennsylvania State University researchers found increases in black overdose mortality rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project utilized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) to examine Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White mortality data. From 2012 to 2021, 537,085 reported overdose deaths occurred; 85% of the deceased were White, and 15% were Black. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the overdose gap between the demographics shifted. Among individuals 55 and older, urban Black individuals had the highest opioid overdose mortality rate compared to White urban, White rural, and Black rural individuals. However, Black individuals ages 15-44 all had lower overdose death rates than their White counterparts. Researchers examined data from four regions, including the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, finding that Florida had the highest number of overdose deaths (37,132; 9.7% Black and 90.3% White) and Kansas reported the lowest (3,199; 8.6% Black and 91.4% White). The results of the study are consistent with other research, showing increases in overdose deaths during the pandemic, with higher mortality rates seen in the black community than before the pandemic.

Articles & Resources

The American Journal on Addictions—Regional Differences in Fatal Drug Overdose Deaths Among Black and White Individuals in the United States, 2012-2021

Penn State—Press Release

Upcoming Events

On June 3, the Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA) will host their Fourth Annual Humanitarian Awards Reception. This year, MAPDA will be honoring Congressman Buddy Carter (GA) and Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA). Sponsorships and tickets are available for purchase. More information available here.

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What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the topic. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Durango Herald—Durango students’ advocacy leads to passing of state Narcan bill

FDA—Opioid Manufacturer Endo Health Solutions Inc. Ordered to Pay $1.536B In Criminal Fines and Forfeiture for Distributing Misbranded Opioid Medication

Missouri Department of Social Services—Fentanyl Case Review Subcommittee Report

New York Times—Lessons From the Front Line of Canada’s Fentanyl Crisis

Reuters—Drugmaker Amneal agrees to $270 million U.S. opioid settlement

Sagely Speaking with Mary Bono—Gil Kerlikowske, Law Enforcement Executive

University of Arizona—Normalizing opioid use disorder treatments to improve care

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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