BY: Southeast addiction center Tennessee
Over the past decade, overdose death rates have increased for all demographics in America. That being so, the overdose death rates for Black Men have risen significantly more than those of other groups. During 2020 alone, the rates of overdose deaths for Black men aged 65 and older were almost seven times higher than those of their white counterparts. Black people (both men and women) aged 15 to 24 saw an 86% increase in overdose deaths during 2020 alone.
This is the progression of a long-standing trend that has been building for decades. Between 1999 and 2018, the largest increase was among synthetic opioid overdoses in Black Men. In 1999, there were 0.1 synthetic opioid overdoses per 100,000 Black Men. This had increased to 36 synthetic opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 Black Men by 2018.
This trend has been compounded by the recent pandemic and the problem is still escalating. In October of 2021, the Pew Research Center conducted a study that found that 42% of Black adults perceive drug addiction as a “major problem” in their community. This is contrasted to just 34% of White adults that feel drug addiction is a “major problem” in their community.
Mental health struggles similarly affect Black Men disproportionately to their white counterparts. In 2019, 11.8% of Black teenagers attempted suicide in America. This is in sharp contrast to 7.9% of White teenagers who attempted suicide during this same time. Additionally, according to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 16.2% of African Americans reported having a mental illness in 2018. Among them, 22.4% reported having a “serious mental illness” that interfered with their lives.
Socioeconomic status has a role to play in the prevalence of mental health issues of any demographic, and it is certainly at play among Black Men. As of 2018, 20.8% of Black people in America were living below the poverty line. Black Men living below the poverty line are 2 times as likely to report mental health struggles than those living above the poverty line. The stigma of mental health struggles within the Black community can also contribute to the reluctance of Black Men to seek help for their mental health challenges.
While the reasons for these disparities are many, there is also a wealth of resources available for Black Men who are struggling with substance use disorder, mental illness, or both.
To expand this information, you can go to the following page where you will find the complete resource: https://southeastaddictiontn.com/50-addiction-mental-health-resources-for-black-men/