May 3, 2022 – The data showed deaths in which opioids were involved increased from 5.2 to 33.9 per 100,000 Indigenous Americans in total.

“These findings highlight existing inequities in drug related deaths and may point to broader systemic factors that disproportionately affect members of [American Indian and Alaska Native] communities,” researchers said in a statement.

“While the type of opioid driving these trends has changed over the years, many underlying social factors that drive these patterns have not,” researchers said.

The study found that death rates due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl have rapidly increased in recent years, increasing from 1.5 per 100,000 in total in 2013 to 12.5 per 100,000 in 2019. Among Indigenous American men, death rates attributed to synthetic opioids soared from 1.5 per 100,00 to 16.5.

The research comes as nearly 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses over the 12-month period ending in November 2021, a record high driven primarily by the pervasive and powerful synthetic opioid — which is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.


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