Fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that Mexican drug cartels now mix into many drugs sold in the United States, is having a devastating impact on the community, according to a new peer-reviewed study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
According to NPR, this research, based on drug-related deaths from 1999 to 2020, is the most recent comprehensive overdose data available.
“People who are lower in the social hierarchy tend to be exposed to fentanyl and other very potent synthetic opioids at disproportionate levels,” says Dr. Helena Hansen, co-author of the report.
As a result, “you find that black Americans are exposed to fentanyl more often than white Americans,” she says.
Reviewing the demographic study conducted at UCLA, Dr. Stephen Taylor of the American Society of Addiction Medicine says the data suggests the black community may bear the brunt of the next phase of the opioid epidemic.
“Overdose rates have risen fastest among black communities,” says UCLA addictions researcher Joseph Friedman. “For the first time, we see them exceeding the overdose rate among white people.”
SNOWFALL is coming IRL: This time it’s fentanyl.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the situation has worsened further.
Friedman says the main factor leading to significantly higher overdose deaths among black people with substance use disorders is quite simple: “The illicit drug supply, the street drug supply, is becoming increasingly toxic.”
As the crack era of the 80s ravaged the black community across America, the local and federal response was to incarcerate drug addicts as neighborhoods were destroyed from within. Today, it’s the same with fentanyl.
Captured on camera, First Lady Nancy Reagan witnessed a South Central police raid to nab drug dealers and users. The victimization of black people through the lens of the camera has been observed too often. As of 2020, COPS was the longest-running reality show in US history. In its heyday, it was all too common to see black drug addicts treated far worse than their white counterparts.
The Running From Cops podcast, the result of 18 months of research and more than 100 interviews, raises questions about how “Cops” portrays low-income people and minorities.
When black people are addicted, we are in prison. When white people are addicted, they are consoled. Where were the clinics and detox institutes in the crack era? Maybe if it had been fixed then, we wouldn’t have the same problem with fentanyl.