Crack epidemic destroys a poor Black community.The war on drugs.Opioid epidemic destroys a poor White community: NationalPublicHealth Crisis— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 26, 2017
More than 52,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2015 — a more than 200 percent increase from 16 years ago, according to a Centers for Disease Control report.
The epidemic is especially centered outside cities and among Native Americans and whites. Deaths rose by 325 percent over the same period when you look only at rural areas, and by more than 500 percent among Native Americans and native Alaskans. Death rates among black Americans have more than doubled, though they have risen at a lower rate than among other races.
A major source of intergenerational trauma, according to Dekker, who spent much of his career working for the U.S. Indian Health Service, was a mid-19th century federal program that attempted to assimilate Native Americans into the rest of the nation’s culture by shipping thousands of Indian children to boarding schools across the country. Many of the children were abused and most lost their cultural identities.The practice continued until 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act gave Native American parents the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.Gloria Malone, a substance abuse counselor at one of the reservation’s long-term recovery houses, said all of her patients “struggle with the brokenness and sorrow of the past.”
A “national emergency” would have “triggered the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue.” A public health emergency does not do that by itself. Several experts on the opioid crisis are bashing the move as a half-measure, NPR reports. In contrast, other public health officials, including some who served in the Obama administration, are arguing that the “public health emergency” is indeed a better fit.