Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Rehabilitation Administration and Services


Upton, Thomas


The Opioid Epidemic is a trending topic in the United States. Due to the skyrocketing numbers of deaths and overdoses of all races, society has stepped up and identified that there is a problem and something must be done. There is much research being conducted to determine what can be done to resolve what has been defined as a public health concern. Current research tends to be focused on how the drug is entering our country and the role that fentanyl plays in causing death and addiction. However, a somewhat overlooked issue is how individuals in the black community are treated differently and what results occur in relationship to these differences. As a disproportionately high number of Blacks die as a result of opioid addiction despite the lower addiction rates, it is important to consider what factors contribute to the higher number of Black deaths. In this study, I will consider how the disparate treatment of Blacks with opioid addiction by the medical community and the criminal justice system contribute to the disproportionately high ratio of deaths in the black community.