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Studies highlight issues regarding black lung, opioid overdose, police violence and more

Studies highlight issues regarding black lung, opioid overdose, police violence and more

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Black lung on the rise since 2000

This study found the national prevalence of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) is increasing among working coal miners. In central Appalachia, 20.6 percent of miners working more than 25 years have black lung disease.

Study authors predict current black lung prevalence estimates will likely be reflected in future trends for severe and disabling disease, including progressive massive fibrosis.

The study revealed that following a low point in the late 1990s, the national prevalence of black lung in miners with 25 years or more of tenure now exceeds 10 percent. When the study excluded miners from central Appalachia, the prevalence for the remainder of the United States was lower, but an increase since 2000 remained evident.

Congressional districts and their opioid prescribing rates

This study examined which Congressional districts have the highest and lowest opioid prescribing rates in 2016. The data showed high prescribing rate districts were concentrated in the South, Appalachia, and the rural West. Low-rate districts were concentrated in urban centers.

Data for all congressional districts is available upon request.

Racial disparities in police violence

Researchers found that police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8 percent of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018.

The study examined racial disparities in police violence, and found that black men’s mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 per year, latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, and white risk is between 0.6 and 0.7.

Authors concluded that police homicide risk is higher than suggested by official data. Black and latino men are at higher risk for death than are white men, and these disparities vary markedly across place.

Former inmates face substantially higher opioid overdose death risk

An analysis of inmate release data and death records in North Carolina found inmates face a substantially higher risk of opioid overdose death after release, when compared with the general population of North Carolina.

Researchers found that of the 229,274 former inmates released during 2000 to 2015, 1,329 died from opioid overdose. Two weeks after release, the respective risk of opioid overdose death among former inmates was 40 times higher as general NC residents. One-year after release and at complete follow-up after release, inmates’ risk was 11 and 8.3 times as high as general NC residents, respectively. The corresponding heroin overdose death risk among former inmates was 74, 18 and 14 times as high as general NC residents, respectively.

Former inmates at greatest OOD risk were those within the first two weeks after release, aged 26 to 50 years, male, white, with more than two previous prison terms, and who received in-prison mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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