Opioid crisis: Another mechanism used to perpetuate American racism

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2019 Jan;25(1):6-11. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000260.


Objectives: Recently, driven largely by opioid-related deaths, President Donald Trump proclaimed that the opioid problem was now a national emergency. What looks like a radical shift to a more compassionate drug policy-one that favors treatment over incarceration-has encouraged many to hope that there will be far fewer drug-related arrests and deaths than there were in previous decades.

Methods and results: We present evidence showing that large numbers of drug-related arrests persist and that racial discrimination is evident in opioid-related arrests. In addition, conventional strategies implemented to address opioid-related deaths have proven inadequate.

Conclusions: We propose solutions grounded in reason and evidence rather than moralism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse*
  • Public Health
  • Racism*
  • Social Discrimination*
  • Social Perception
  • United States