Between the Lines: Understanding Our Country’s Racialized Response to the Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Opioid and substance use responses generally are not reaching communities of color. Now that the current opioid overdose epidemic is impacting mostly white, rural populations, policymakers are feeling significant political and social pressure to do something about it.

This report, by Isha Weerasinghe, Yesenia Jimenez, and Bruce Wilson, provides an overview of how history and the response to the opioid overdose epidemic play a part in widening health inequities, and what we need to do. Unless we figure out how to make significant upstream economic and policy changes, we will continue to see inequities in prevention, screening, and treatment, resulting in greater racial disparities in opioid overdose and substance use disorders (SUD) overall.