Opioid deaths by race in the United States, 2000–2015

Abstract

The opioid-related mortality rate in the United States more than tripled between 2000 and 2015. However, there were stark differences in the trend for the non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white populations. In this paper we assess differences in opioid deaths by race. The increase in 2000–2010 was more substantial for the white population and was driven by prescription painkillers. However, since 2010, the rates of opioid-mortality increase for both the white and black populations have been similar and largely due to heroin and fentanyl-type opioids. In addition, the number of deaths that involve more than one opioid drug has increased over time, with the rate of increase coinciding with the overall rate of increase in opioid deaths.

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