Concern grows over addiction treatment inequalities and stigma in Knox County

College of Tennessee Medical Heart’s Dr. Keith Grey stated the speed of overdose deaths within the Black group has elevated considerably over 5 years.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After a record-breaking yr of drug overdoses in Knox County, the highest physician on the College of Tennessee Medical Heart stated Thursday that disparities in habit and remedy seem like on the rise. 

“Inside Knox County, we have now a disparity inside a disparity,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Keith Grey stated.

Talking on the Metro Drug Coalition’s annual East Tennessee Opioid Convention, he stated African-Individuals have skilled an elevated price of overdose deaths past the Knox County spike, calling it a “vital improve” over the previous 5 years.

Close to brushes with opioid-related deaths are additionally up within the county, Grey stated. There was a 72 p.c improve in naloxone use since 2013, however he stated White males are more than likely to get the overdose-reversing drug. 

Grey pointed to inequity in Hispanic, LGBTQ and homeless communities as properly. Amongst individuals with substance abuse dysfunction who determine as LGBTQ, one in two wrestle with illicit drug use, he stated. 

“There’s extra mild that must be shined on our LGBTQ group because it pertains to substance use dysfunction,” he stated. 

Entry to and the need for remedy had been different areas Grey recognized as points throughout the county’s well being response to the overdose epidemic.

“African-Individuals are much less prone to full remedy it doesn’t matter what they’re doing remedy for,” he stated. “Not seeing different African-Individuals in remedy makes individuals much less prone to present up for remedy.”

Underlying present problems with schooling, entry and affordability amongst communities of colour is a bigger concern of belief, Grey stated. Addressing the problem of belief, he stated, will permit for the advance of fairness for all.

Grey’s presentation was a part of the Metro Drug Coalition’s fourth annual East Tennessee Opioid Convention, made extra pressing this yr by improve drug deaths in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This previous yr the U.S. noticed its highest variety of overdose deaths ever,” stated Cigna government Jim Lancaster, an occasion sponsor. 

“We all know it impacts everybody, however on the similar time we all know there are loads of disparities particularly within the emotional well being and behavioral well being areas,” he stated. “We won’t increase our voices an excessive amount of about this epidemic and its challenges.”

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