Opioid overdose death rates increased for nearly all racial and ethnic groups in metropolitan areas between 2015 and 2017, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blacks experienced the largest absolute and percentage increases, with a 103% increase in overdose deaths in large cities and a 361% increase in overdoses involving synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 60% of opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2017. “Culturally competent interventions are needed to target populations at risk; these interventions include increasing awareness about synthetic opioids in the drug supply and expanding evidence-based interventions, such as naloxone distribution and medication-assisted treatment,” the authors said. In 2018, drug overdose deaths declined 5.1% to about 68,000, according to preliminary data released by the CDC in July.

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