There Are No Accidents, pp. 125 – 126: Drug Use and Stigma

It may give dear blog readers whiplash, the way self moves from book to book. She was immersed in Stephen King’s Fairy Tale (second half is the creepiest fairy tale she has ever read), and now she’s in There Are No Accidents, by Jesse Singer, which she began reading yesterday. Singer’s book is a definite eye-opener. (It was one of The Economist’s Books of 2022).

From the chapter on Stigma:

Drug use is generally equally prevalent across race and ethnicity. But for decades prior to the modern opioid epidemic, accidental drug overdose in the United States disproportionately affected Black people. This is a measure not of drug use but of stigma — Black drug use was more often considered criminal and less likely to come with a doctor’s prescription, so use came with a higher risk. Proof of this arrived when the most popular opioids in America again came with a prescription and were prescribed in record numbers to white people. For at least twenty years, from 1979 to 2000, Black people died from accidental opioid overdoses at a higher rate than white people. When Purdue Pharma released Oxycontin and aggressively marketed it to doctors as a nonaddictive opioid pain medication, the rate of accidental opioid overdose in America skyrocketed among white people. Black people were protected in part because Oxycontin was made for and marketed to the doctor-visiting class.

There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster, pp. 125 – 126

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