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Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:03 AM

Why are black Americans less affected by the opioid epidemic? Racism, probably.

Updated by German Lopez@germanrlopezgerman.lopez@vox.com Jan 25, 2016, 11:10am EST

Amid all the horrors of the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, one good bit of news is that it hasn't hit minority communities very hard. But there's never really been, in my view, a satisfactory explanation for this: Why are minority communities avoiding the worst of the epidemic?

Well, the New York Times has a possible explanation — and it's disheartening. Gina Kolata and Sarah Cohen reported for the Times:

There is a reason that blacks appear to have been spared the worst of the narcotic epidemic, said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a drug abuse expert. Studies have found that doctors are much more reluctant to prescribe painkillers to minority patients, worrying that they might sell them or become addicted.

"The answer is that racial stereotypes are protecting these patients from the addiction epidemic," said Dr. Kolodny, a senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and chief medical officer for Phoenix House Foundation, a national drug and alcohol treatment company.



It's a troubling possibility: Basically, doctors didn't give black patients drugs that were thought to be needed for pain treatment due to racist stereotypes. Then white patients who got the drugs became addicted, and some, over time, shifted to another, cheaper, more potent opioid — heroin — to satiate their addiction.

To be clear, the doctors' stated fears — that black patients are more likely to illegally sell and get addicted to drugs — are based on false stereotypes: The research shows black people aren't more likely than their white counterparts to use or sell illicit drugs.

https://www.vox.com/2016/1/25/10826560/opioid-epidemic-race-black

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Reply Why are black Americans less affected by the opioid epidemic? Racism, probably. (Original post)
MrScorpio Oct 2017 OP
bettyellen Oct 2017 #1
MaryMagdaline Oct 2017 #2
dalton99a Oct 2017 #3
cally Oct 2017 #4
Hornedfrog1985 Oct 2017 #5
Not Ruth Oct 2017 #6
L. Coyote Oct 2017 #7

Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:09 AM

1. Women and POC are left in pain more often because doctors trust them less.

 

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:10 AM

2. White privilege

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:14 AM

3. Plus what the textbook says

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:15 AM

4. Also, due to lack of access to medical care

I've worked in prevention and read several studies and heard talks. Medical professionals are more likely to dismiss reports of pain in black patients and black patients have less access to medical care. Opioids are expensive long term.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:15 AM

5. Somewhat...

 

The thing is. Black people are a lot less likely to use cocaine, heroin, etc. Theyve seen what it does to their families and communities.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Oct 31, 2017, 09:24 AM

7. "Predominantly, black men have found themselves behind bars ...."

https://intpolicydigest.org/2017/09/14/current-opioid-crisis-highlights-racial-double-standard/

.... Since the introduction of these “tough on crime” laws, prison populations have exploded. Predominantly, black men have found themselves behind bars for multiple, non-violent, drug-related offenses. Where was the concern for mental health treatment when drug addiction was plaguing their communities?

Luckily, sentencing reform (with a particular focus on drug-related laws) is beginning to get traction in the United States, but not quickly enough. Already, millions of black men have suffered from disenfranchisement after being released from prison, and most likely this demographic will continue to suffer under the Trump administration’s crackdown. Especially if Trump and Sessions have their way, much of the progress that has been made in the past 8 years under Obama could be rolled back. It already seems like the entire purpose of Trump’s presidency is to undo the last. ......

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