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Jackie Wilson Said

(4,176 posts)
Tue Jan 26, 2016, 02:29 PM Jan 2016

Opioid OVERDOSE/ADDICTION mostly a white problem...and why.


Racial stereotypes may be playing a role in the US opioid overdose epidemic, according to a leading expert on opioid addiction.

The rate of white Americans dying annually from drug overdoses has roughly doubled from 2002 to 2014, while the rate of black Americans and Hispanics who die from drug overdoses has remained almost unchanged over that same time frame, according to recently released data from the CDC.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the chief medical officer for The Phoenix House and a leading expert on opioid addiction, told Business Insider these trends might have a direct connection to some doctors allowing racist stereotypes to influence the way they prescribe opioid pain killers.

"What's happening is we're overexposing whites to prescription opioids," he said. "Doctors prescribe narcotics more cautiously to black patients. It appeared the doctor may be more worried about addiction or diversion of the pills onto the black market if the patient was black and if the patient is white, they're overprescribing."

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Opioid OVERDOSE/ADDICTION mostly a white problem...and why. (Original Post) Jackie Wilson Said Jan 2016 OP
Makes perfect sense ... brett_jv Jan 2016 #1
Small city of approx. 7500, 5 or 6 heroin od deaths in last 14 months or so. All ages 17 - 40, iirc, Mnemosyne Jan 2016 #2
White drug users seem to prefer opiates or meth, black drug users tend to use cocain. frankieallen Jan 2016 #3


(1,245 posts)
1. Makes perfect sense ...
Tue Jan 26, 2016, 03:12 PM
Jan 2016

But another thing might be involved ... heroin is WAY cheaper than Rx opioids, AND more 'accepted' in the black community ... which means your average black opioid user is more likely to be a heroin user than say, oxycontin or opana like the average white opioid user.

Why does that matter? Seems like it'd be WORSE then, right? Well for a couple reasons, it may not be.

It's like this: heroin addicts tend to become extremely opioid tolerant, some are able to take in as much dope as would kill 20-30 people if they were taking opioids for the first time. That's a built-in anti-OD mechanism.

In turn, being a heroin user (esp. a black one, as there's a significant 'community' of them) also means you're 'taught' by other users 'how to get high', it's a much more complex process, and everyone involved has an awareness of the 'unknowns' involved ... mostly with regards to strength/purity, so people are taught to be careful, IOW.

Then there's cost ... average heroin user (esp. a black addict) is poor, living hand to mouth basically, and at any given time is buying like $10-$20 bags ... they could shoot that whole thing and not OD. They never have ENOUGH dope ... to OD with, because they're poor.

Your average white person trying to get high on opioids is doing it by like ... buying from a casual friend or co-worker or stealing from mom/dad/grandparents. There's no 'community of experienced users' involved in the process. Nobody teaching them the difference between a 5mg Vicodin and a 80MG Oxycontin. And they probably buy, I dunno, a bunch of pills when they do so. In some cases, they physically are 'holding' ... enough to kill them, esp. mixed with booze.

Thus, I'd bet that most people who die from opioid OD are relatively opioid 'naive' as they say ... in both senses of the word (tolerance and proper usage). Because in order to live long enough to actually become a serious addict ... that only happens when you 'know what you're doing' along the way.

Also a SIGNIFICANT majority of opioid deaths ALSO include alcohol use. These two drugs are synergistic, you see ...

I'd be willing to bet opioid OD's amongst people receiving their drugs via a qualified pain doctor, who are taking it AS PRESCRIBED, who are NOT mixing it with alcohol ... are almost unheard of. Thus this 'overprescribing to whites' ... is most likely BS. Legit pain patients taking as Rx'd ... are NOT the people dying of OD in the vast majority of cases.


(21,363 posts)
2. Small city of approx. 7500, 5 or 6 heroin od deaths in last 14 months or so. All ages 17 - 40, iirc,
Tue Jan 26, 2016, 03:26 PM
Jan 2016

and all of these people were caucasian. Devastating to a town.

NW Pa., where I live for now.



(583 posts)
3. White drug users seem to prefer opiates or meth, black drug users tend to use cocain.
Tue Jan 26, 2016, 03:26 PM
Jan 2016

it's alot easier to OD on heroin than coke.

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