Racial Disparity Seen in Naloxone Administration

Finding seen among Black people with overdose deaths in Pennsylvania versus White people
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FRIDAY, May 31, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- In Pennsylvania, from 2019 to 2021, Black people who died from overdose deaths had lower odds of naloxone administration compared with White and Hispanic people, according to a study published online May 29 in Addiction.

Erin Takemoto, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Pennsylvania Department of Health in Harrisburg, and colleagues characterized the circumstances of drug overdose deaths to determine whether naloxone administration differed by overdose decedent race and ethnicity. The analysis included data on unintentional and undetermined-intent drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania (2019 to 2021) as identified from death certificates and the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System.

The researchers found that overdose death rates were the highest among Black people and increased over time (4.3, 6.1, and 6.5 per 10,000 population for 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively), while rates were lowest among White people and remained constant over time (2.6, 2.7, and 2.6 per 10,000 population for 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively). Across the study period, Black decedents had approximately 40 to 50 percent lower odds of receiving naloxone versus White decedents (odds ratios, 0.7, 0.5, and 0.6 for 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively). Hispanic decedents had similar odds of naloxone administration as White decedents.

"Naloxone distribution strategies should be thoughtfully and purposefully implemented to guarantee its availability, such that anyone who suffers an overdose has an equal chance of survival, irrespective of their racial or ethnic background," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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