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UCF Researchers Look At Opioid Abuse In Black Adults

Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A new study out of the University of Central Florida finds opioid abuse equally affects whites and blacks even though it is often portrayed as a white, rural epidemic.

UCF doctoral student Harvey Nicholson was searching through data on opioid abuse when he realized that he couldn’t find anything on how the epidemic was affecting black adults.

So he sorted through the 2015 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health by race, and found the rates of abuse were nearly identical between white and black respondents. But there were differences in how the epidemic impacts white and black Americans.

Black men were more likely to abuse prescription opioids, which is not the case for white respondents. And if you were poor and black you were more likely to have an opioid problem, while opioid abuse crosses white socioeconomic lines. Black people with higher levels of education were less likely to abuse, but education was not a significant factor for whites.

The study is published in the peer-reviewed journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.