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Numbers show cocaine again damaging minority communities

December 20, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The news reporting around drug overdose deaths has largely focused on white Americans and opioid use, but a study published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine points to troubling overdose data for minorities and a link to stimulants.

The study, which documented an average annual increase of 5.5% in overall drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2015, reported that the most pronounced increases in overdose deaths during that period occurred in African-American men ages 50 and older and African-American women ages 45 and older.

“In the most recent years studied, 2012 to 2015, cocaine overdose deaths were almost as common in black men as prescription opioid deaths in white men and slightly more common in black women than deaths from heroin overdose in white women,” study co-author Meredith Shiels said in a CNN report. Shiels is a researcher at the National Cancer Institute.

Study authors suggest that trends affecting minority populations merit greater national attention, and add that a more general drug abuse crisis appears to be emerging.