Watch CBSN Live

Chicago Urban League report: City's death rate from opioids higher among African Americans

CHICAGO -- A report suggests the opioid problem in the city of Chicago, especially among African Americans, is far worse than many believe, CBS Chicago reports.

Kathie Kane-Willis of the Chicago Urban League co-authored the report, which claims last year the opioid death rate among African Americans in the city was 56 percent higher than for whites. In 2016, the overdose rate for African Americans in Illinois more than doubled, according to the report.

While African Americans make up 32 percent of Chicago's population, they accounted for 48 percent of opioid deaths. Further, despite making up just 15 percent of Illinois' population, African Americans accounted for nearly a quarter of opioid deaths in the state.

Christie on opioid crisis 07:17

"The narrative that we hear from the news media is about the white, suburban, rural opioid epidemic," she said. 

The report also claims that while in the suburbs and among whites the main approach is treatment, the main strategy in Chicago among African Americans is arrest and prosecution. Chicago ranks lowest in the Midwest for medication-assisted treatment capacity and third worse among major cities, according to the report.

Kane-Willis said she hopes the report raises awareness about the opioid problem among African Americans and leads to more equitable treatment of opioid addicts regardless of race or location.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.