Cocaine Overdose Problem Among African-Americans Comparable to Opioids Among Whites

The rate of cocaine overdose deaths among black people is as high as the rate of opioid overdose deaths among white people, according to research published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

While heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers have grabbed a lot of attention, cocaine is proportionately as serious a problem in the black community.

Overall, overdose deaths among black people in the U.S. increased nearly 50% between 2000-2003 and 2012-2015 – from 6.1 to 9 per 100,000 population.

"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," a study co-author wrote.

The greatest increases in African-American overdose deaths were among men age 50 and over and women age 45 and over.

For overdose deaths generally, the highest rates for whites are in the 30-to-34 age group, while the highest rates for blacks are in the 50-to-59 age group.

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