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Northeast Opioid Crisis, Overdoses Rising in Latino Communities

by Landmark Recovery

March 10, 2022
opioid crisis latino communities

Before coronavirus dominated the news cycle, the steady increase in opioid overdoses deaths nationwide was already well-publicized. The endless trickle of reports about the Massachusetts opioid crisis, and abuse of opioids by certain demographics, are indicative of what is happening nationwide. Increasingly, more people are abusing opioids, and more of them are dying as a result of opioid overdose.

Early in 2021, news outlet Noticias Telemundo reported on the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, specifically concentrating on the rampant use of opioids among members of the Latino community. About the same time the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also issued a report on the prevalence of opioid use among Latinos, flagging this as “a matter of urgency.”

Recovery centers in Maryland reported a doubled demand during the pandemic. Many reported being at full capacity. With many Latinos associating seeking rehab with weakness, the problem will not go away on its own. We can only continue pointing out the clear and present danger of opioids.

Massachusetts Opioid Crisis

Noticias Telemundo recently featured an interview with Casa Esperanza, a health facility based in Boston. It is one of the only centers in the country that provides both mental health services and drug detox services in Spanish.

In one personal account, a middle-aged Puerto Rican, identified only as Diego, spoke of growing up in Springfield, Mass. He started using drugs at the age of 12 and by 17 he was trafficking drugs. He then recounts a life of addiction, repeat visits to jail, and shattered relationships. The saddest element is that Diego considers himself fortunate. This is indicative of the Latino experience in many states. Like Diego, many young Latinos are drawn to narcotics by elder siblings to the extent that roughly 4% of the Latino population abuses opioids.

Number of Overdose Deaths Hits All-Time High

One obvious factor that has influenced patterns of drug abuse is the global pandemic. From isolation, depression, and anxiety to financial distress, job loss, and homelessness, COVID-19 left an enormous footprint across the United States last year. Many government agencies have expressed concern about the spike in deaths from drug overdoses.

Then in July 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated more than 93,000 people died from a drug overdose between May 2019 and May 2020. This is the highest number of drug overdose deaths ever recorded for a single year in U.S. history. That’s an average of 250 people dying per day, or 11 every hour.

Problems for Latinos Triggered by the Pandemic

Now, while opioids do not discriminate, some states in particular have seen a steep rise in opioid abuse cases involving Latinos in 2020.

In Maryland, for example, 27% more Latinos died in 2020 due to opioid overdose than the previous year. This was almost double the increase noticed among non-Hispanic whites (16% increase), and more than double that of non-Hispanic blacks (13% increase).

What Comes Next

Are you concerned about your, or a loved one’s, use of opioids? No matter the severity of your addiction, Landmark Recovery of Boston is opening its doors in 2022 and specializing in helping you and your family through the difficulties of drug or alcohol dependence. We will be providing supportive relationships, programs and treatment tailored to your beliefs, and a strong alumni support system. With the appropriate inpatient or outpatient treatment, we will help you begin your journey to recovery.

Get more information today by speaking with one of our recovery specialists at 978-619-8073.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.