Drug use and abuse are ravaging the United States. Parts of the country have been completely consumed by its devastating effects. If you do not believe your area is being affected by the problem, then you do not know your community. The rise in prescription drug and opioid abuse is destroying homes, communities, and states at a rapid pace. Due to the nature of prescription drug use, more and more young Americans from solid social and financial backgrounds are falling victim to addiction. This is why the problem has become so terrible. There are a great number of people in and out of the government working to reduce this issue, but it is a such an enormous problem that it will take years to beat.

Opioid Abuse Nationally

Opioid abuse has increased drastically in the last few years. It is now the leading cause of fatality in the United States; successfully taken over that top spot from motor vehicle accidents. There are parts of the country that have been specifically demolished by substance abuse and addiction that the state has called it an epidemic, health care concern and public safety matter. There are several states which have called for a ‘State of Emergency.’ Various programs and state/federal sponsored initiatives are working to reduce and eventually stop the addiction problem.

The best way to reduce and eliminate addiction is to provide better education on substance abuse and addiction, monitor prescription drugs and provide adequate treatment and rehabilitation programs. Is there any racial bias in addiction treatment? If there is, how can it be eliminated to help all equally?

Racial Bias in Addiction Treatment

In the past, drug use and abuse cases have always been dealt with by lawful penalties. If you are caught with or using drugs you are penalized. As substance abuse and addiction continue to spiral out of control policy makers and other officials are reevaluating the treatment of addicts and those caught abusing drugs. Of those caught, is there a difference in treatment between whites and blacks? Historically speaking, it is easy to see that black offenders have often been treated as criminals, while their white counterparts treated with sympathy as an addict (although this is not always the case, but a pattern can be detected). The ongoing racial divide and attitudes continue today, reflections of the crack epidemic of the 80’s, yet more and more white males and even mothers to be are found addicted to drugs. Today, these expecting mothers are receiving treatment for their abuses, while in the past the black mothers were penalized for their substance abuse issues. Is this a result of racial bias? Or, a change in the way addiction is treated? It could be one or the other, maybe a combination of the two. Recent changes in the way state and federal law addresses addiction and substance abuse do not reflect any racial bias. How could they? None of the new legislation addresses addiction in a way of color, but rather the way it should be; an issue that requires treatment and rehabilitation, not prison. Eliminated racial bias is always going to be an issue because of human error and lack of true educational development as a whole. People are not born racist but are taught that type of hatred. Thankfully for all, new legislation and policies created to combat this growing problem must treat all as equals. It is unconstitutional to do otherwise and would be overturned in the court of law. Everyone deserves the right to proper addiction treatment when in need; no matter the color of their skin.