* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
While the [Illinois] opioid death rate for white people dropped 6.5 percent between 2017 and 2018, opioid deaths increased among African Americans by 9.1 percent last year and by 4.3 percent among Hispanics according to IDPH data..
“In 2018, opioid deaths among Illinois residents decreased for the first time in five years with a 1.6 percent drop from 2,202 in 2017 to 2,167 in 2018,” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike wrote in a letter accompanying the report, released earlier this month. “However, this decrease was driven primarily by a decline in deaths among non-Hispanic whites. Deaths among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic residents continued to increase between 2017 and 2018, illustrating a persistent disparity.”
The opioid death rate is highest among Black Illinoisans, where there are an average of 32.8 opioid deaths per 100,000 Illinois residents. Whites have the second-largest death rate — 16.8 deaths per 100,000 Illinoisans — and Hispanics have 9.9 opioid deaths per 100,000. […]
Regionally, opioid deaths are decreasing in Cook County and suburban collar counties, according to the IDPH data. Deaths are also on the decline in Illinois’ rural counties. However, 2018 was the first year in which counties classified as “urban” surpassed Cook County in opioid overdose mortality rates per 100,000, according to IDPH.
That racial disparity tracks with national trends, Hannah reports. Turns out that whites are more likely to obtain prescriptions for buprenorphine, which decreases opioid cravings.