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According to the CDC, overdose deaths among Black men increased more than 200% since 2015 and more than 144% among Black women. Even more troubling, a study by the Yale University Department of Psychiatry found that 90% of African American people in the U.S. who need addiction treatment do not get it.
A powerful sedative for large animals is being detected in a growing number of human overdose deaths. The drug is spreading across the country. It’s called Xylazine. On the street, it’s known as “Tranq,” “K,” “Sleep Cut,” or even “Zombie Drug.” The DEA said it’s only authorized for use in the U.S. by veterinarians.
Fentanyl is deadly on its own and now it’s being laced with more dangerous drug used as an animal tranquilizer.
Community health organizations and law enforcement have been coming together in recent months in an effort to help prevent these deaths. A key part of that effort is increased access and availability of naloxone, a medication that can reverse overdoses involving heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids when given in time.
The impact of substance and alcohol use disorders on Black Americans is a complex issue. Research shows long-held stereotypes about race and addiction are impacting access to treatment and patient outcomes. It is critical for the behavioral health community to discuss these differences.
“Unless you’ve used drugs and been in a situation, you don’t understand what it’s like,” Jessica Holdren said. Jessica found herself in the middle of addiction, and turned to BrightView Health in Lynchburg for help.