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Cocaine contributes to overdose deaths among some minorities

Posted on December 12, 2017

Drug overdose deaths are a major public health concern across all racial/ethnic groups, and are often associated with opioid use. However, a new study shows that cocaine is also a consistent contributor to overdose deaths. The research suggests that rates of cocaine-related overdose deaths in the non-Hispanic black population are similar to heroin-related deaths among non-Hispanic white women and prescription opioid-related deaths among non-Hispanic white men. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

The authors suggest that although strategies to address prescription opioid and heroin overdoses remain critical for all racial/ethnic groups, prevention efforts focused on reducing cocaine-related deaths among the non-Hispanic black population are also needed.

Reference: Shiels et al. Trends in U.S. drug overdose deaths in non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white persons, 2000-2015. Ann. Intern. Med. December 5, 2017.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse "Science Spotlight"