According to the CDC, there were over 107,000 fatal overdoses in the U.S. in 2021. This figure is staggering. Each number represents a unique life that was lost in the addiction crisis. It also raises an important question: who is being most affected by this epidemic?
According to SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the BIPOC community is most at risk for developing addiction. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Stress, trauma, housing discrimination, racism, hate crimes, and systemic pressures drastically increase the risk of developing addiction.
According to several studies, Black individuals in particular are at risk for addiction. Within the last 5 years, there has been a rise in opioid-related overdoses among Black Americans. During this time period, Black people accounted for 43% of all overdoses. This is especially jarring since Black people only make up approximately 12% of the general population.
BIPOC individuals also face barriers when trying to access treatment. These barriers can take the form of familial stigma, cultural stigma, limited healthcare access, systemic discrimination, and regulatory barriers.