Could Racist Stereotypes Explain Prescription Drug Abuse Trends?

February 18, 2016 | By admin

Health officials are trying to determine why more white Americans are dying as a result of prescription drug overdoses in recent years, according to data examined by researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Prescription drug abuse is being called an epidemic by lawmakers at both the federal and NJ state levels, with more than 47,000 Americans dying due to drug overdoses in 2014.

However, a deeper look at the numbers suggests that mortality rates vary across different racial demographic groups. For example, nearly twice as many whites are dying today as a result of prescription drug overdoses as were dying in 2002. Over the same time period, from 2002 to 2014, the drug OD mortality rates for black Americans and Hispanic Americans have remained largely the same.

Why Are More White Americans Dying due to Prescription Drug Overdoses?

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a leading expert on opioid addiction issues, believes that the surprising drug overdose trends can possibly be explained by racist stereotypes used by doctors who prescribe medication. White patients are being overexposed to prescription opioids, said Kolodny, while doctors tend to be more cautious about prescribing medication to black patients and individuals from other minority groups.

The data appears to confirm Dr. Kolodny’s analysis. In 2003, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health indicated that white patients have a much easier time than black patients when it comes to getting prescriptions for migraines and back pain. Ten years later, in 2013, a study published in the Pediatrics journal found that white patients are more likely than black patients to receive prescription medication for painkillers to treat abdominal pain.

Regardless of any underlying racial stereotypes that may be leading to an increase in painkiller abuse by certain demographics in the U.S., the reality is that prescription drug abuse is a problem for everyone. In places like New Jersey, law enforcement has responded to the drug overdose epidemic by getting tougher on drug possession offenses, while local prosecutors do not hesitate to seek maximum punishments in drug distribution cases.

To learn more about the U.S. drug overdose epidemic, view the article, “There’s a Disturbing Theory about Why America’s Overdose Epidemic is Primarily Affecting White People.”


If you or a loved one has been charged with prescription drug possession, simple possession of marijuana, heroin possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, you need a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. will help you fight your drug crime charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.


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