Drug Overdose Deaths Surge Among Black Americans During Pandemic

Disparities in access to healthcare has been permanent in America for decades. The pandemic is placing stress on everyone, causing more people to be isolated and can exacerbate despair, leading to increased substance abuse.

For whites and those who are financially well-off, substance use disorder is often treated as a chronic but survivable illness. That means long-term health care and life-saving medications.

By contrast, people of color and poor Americans who experience addiction regularly face arrest and incarceration, while rarely gaining access to high-quality healthcare.

"We're still seeing punitive measures, harsh measures happening in those minority communities, and there's a lack of rehabilitative facilities," said Jasmine Drake, a former Drug Enforcement Administration researcher who teaches at Texas Southern University.

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