The chart above shows the racial breakdown of the opioid epidemic in NC from the IVPB Poisoning Data page for monthly surveillance reports, county-level overdose slide sets, and data tables on opioid dispensing, as well as overdose deaths, hospitalizations, and ED visits. The data shows how American Indians in NC are disproportionately impacted by this epidemic.

Frequently, articles examining the racial and ethnic disparities of the overdose epidemic focus primarily on the outcomes of whites compared to blacks, and sometimes Hispanics. While there are certainly important historical factors contributing to the disparate outcomes these racial/ethnic groups are experiencing, our analysis emphasizes the immense need to broaden the scope of prevention and response efforts to include AIs in addition to other racial and ethnic populations. During the 17-year study period for which death data was available (2000-2016), overdose death rates among whites were higher than rates among Asians and Hispanics across all substance types, and whites had higher rates than blacks across all substance types except cocaine. However, our results show that American Indians had rates as high as or higher than white populations for every substance type, except heroin.

Overdose Deaths and Acute Hepatitis Infections Among American Indians in NC