Does racism cause drug addiction in white people?

“We were surprised that less than 60 percent of all kids received any analgesia . . . and among the kids that actually received it, why there were such marked racial differences in use of opioids,” she said…

Only a quarter of black children in severe pain received opioids for appendicitis pain compared to nearly 60% of white children. In fact, a similar portion of white children were likely to receive opioids even for moderate appendicitis-related pain compared to only 15% of black children.

The choice of appendicitis for the study was purposeful. Goyal told MedPage Today that her team specifically chose to look at appendicitis because it was well-regarded as a painful surgical condition with accepted guidelines regarding the treatment of pain with opioids. Still, she said she was surprised by the results of the study…

While a smaller portion of Hispanic patients received opioids compared to non-Hispanic patients, these differences were not statistically significant. However, there was a statistically significant association between pain score and the administration of opioids for the entire population…

Goyal and colleagues examined National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data from 2003 to 2010, and performed a repeated cross-sectional analysis of patients ages 21 years or younger who were evaluated in the ED for a ICD-9 diagnosis of appendicitis. The study population was 68.4% male and 86.6% white…

Under comments:

09.16.2015— Peggy Ake, MSEd.
I was a very sick patient with chronic appendicitis presented in an abnormal way. I was provided with strong opoids during this time. I finally ended up in the ER in critical condition and so critical that they had to use a spinal block, this was 1973, because they were afraid I wouldn’t pull through if I can general anesthesia. Exploratory surgery was done and they found an extremely long appendix that was flat in some places and swollen in others. My appendix was interwoven in and out of my intestines. They had never seen a case like it.

Not getting equal treatment because of the color of a child or adults’ skin color is sad, disgusting and unethical. The pain I had, if it was not treated as well as it was might have easily pushed me towards suicide before I was in critical condition. To hold back opoids for anyone who suffers from appendicitis pain is practicing cruel and inhumane medical care. That’s why you took the Hippocratic Oath, and are breaking that oath when you don’t give adequate pain relief to children or adults with this terribly painful condition.

Please stop discrimination in the ER or before or after surgeries based on skin color. The pain is no less than a White child feels. You doctors who do this should be charged with neglect and physical and mental abuse of these children. I hope you wouldn’t want that type of treatment of your child or family member.

Please stop medical discrimination now.

It’s important to note that refusing access to opioids for anyone who suffers from a certain level of pain is cruel and inhumane. I wonder what the average pain level is for appendicitis — is it a 5 or a 10 on the pain scale? Is chronic pain on the same level as appendicitis?

Anti-drug advocates and those who believe in the gateway theory say that a child’s first exposure to drugs is the beginning of addiction. This study is questionable, but if white kids get more opioids than black and Hispanic kids, maybe it explains a few things.

If you look at the type of people who are being blamed for the opioid and heroin “epidemics,” it’s middle-class, white people.  And because of racism, this population was given more and easier access to opioids as children. Of course that’s correlation, not causation.

But the gateway theory could relate to Tylenol being the first drug kids are ever exposed to, along with sugar and caffeine. Still, the drug war, racism, and the lack of access to health care have created different drug addictions in each race, and according to government statistics, it’s mostly white people who are addicted to opioids and heroin. And it’s mostly white people who have insurance and access to our modern-day health care.

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