Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – A recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows more Americans are using drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with the pandemic.
According to reports from the CDC, the number of drug overdose deaths have steadily increased over the last year, with opioids as the leading drug of choice. In fact, over 93,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in 2020 alone. This represents a 30 percent increase over the previous year, a 75 percent increase over 2015 totals, and the highest number on record according to the Kaiser report.
While white ethnicity accounts for the largest percentage overall of drug overdose deaths, certain ethnicities saw a larger increase in comparison. In comparing 2019 totals to 2020, the number of white deaths in 2019 totaled 19.0 per 100,000, and by 2020 that number rose to 23.6 for a 24 percent increase.
Blacks had the highest increase in the total number of drug overdoses, which resulted in a 47 percent increase. In 2019, the number of drug overdoses for Blacks totaled 18.6 per 100,000. By 2020, that number increased to 27.3 per 100,000. Alaskan natives came in second with a 34 percent increase in the number of drug deaths, but also accounted for the highest number of deaths at 29.8 per 100,000, up from 22.3 in 2019. In comparing increases by percentage, Pacific Islanders saw the largest increase at 49 percent, rising from 7.5 deaths in 100,000 in 2019 to 11.2 in 2020.
From 2016 to 2020, the share of white drug deaths dropped from 78 percent to 69 percent. By comparison, the share of Black drug deaths rose from 11 percent to 17 percent. Hispanics saw the same trend with the share of Hispanic drug deaths going from 8 to 12 percent. This resulted in Blacks accounting for a higher share of drug deaths in comparison to their percentage of the population at 17 percent versus 13 percent. By comparison, the Hispanic drug deaths accounted for 12 percent of the deaths but 19 percent of the population.
Additionally, more minorities are reporting substance abuse. In a survey published in JAMA, 13 percent of whites reported using alcohol or drugs to cope since the pandemic began. By comparison, 28 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of Blacks reported using drugs or alcohol as coping mechanism during the pandemic.