African-Americans, Hispanics, dying at faster rate of fentanyl overdoses than whites: analysis

African-Americans, Hispanics, dying at faster rate of fentanyl overdoses than whites: analysis
© Getty Images

African-Americans and Hispanics are dying of fentanyl overdoses at a faster rate than white people, according to a new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rates of overdose deaths for African-Americans increased 140 percent on average per year between 2011 and 2016, according to the data, and by 118 percent on average per year for Hispanics during that same time period.

ADVERTISEMENT

Overdose deaths among whites increased by an average of 61 percent per year between 2011 and 2016. 

Fentanyl overdose deaths were still more common among whites, however, at a rate of 7.7 per 100,000 people, compared to 5.6 per 100,000 for African-Americans and 2.5 per 100,000 for Hispanics.

Men are also dying of fentanyl overdoses at three times the rate of women, according to the CDC research.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's 100 times more powerful than morphine, is often mixed with other drugs like heroin and cocaine — sometimes without the knowledge of the user — as a filler because it's cheap to make. But it can be deadly in small doses. 

Increases in drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have largely been driven by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in recent years. 

The number of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl was stable in 2011 and 2012 and began increasing in 2013 before rising to 18,335 deaths in 2016. 

Fatal overdoses increased for both men and women, and all ages and races, the CDC says.