From 2020-2021, a dramatic increase in the use of illicit fentanyl as well as methamphetamine and cocaine has dramatically contributed to overdose deaths exceeding 100,000. Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, chair of the American Medical Association (AMA), notes addressing current health inequities that might negatively affect minority populations and people of color is especially important as structurally marginalized populations are disproportionately affected by the drug overdose crisis. Current health equity research has addressed the struggles patients from marginalized racial and ethnic groups face and what can be done to support these patients. This research highlights how diseases of disparity often take place in systemically oppressed communities that struggle with inequitable access to care. Dr. Edwin Chapman, a founding member and secretary of the board of directors at the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities, further notes the importance of addressing racism and oppression amongst Black and brown communities when working towards eliminating health inequalities. Racial and ethnic inequities in incarceration patterns compared with access to addiction treatment must also be further explored. Dr. Mukkamala further highlights the need for increased access to a variety of harm reduction efforts (i.e. increased access to naloxone, syringe service programs, drug test strips) in order to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.

This work at the AMA is closely aligned to the goals and objectives of many of our CBAM projects. We strive to reduce substance use by increasing access to quality evidence-based services in communities impacted by healthcare disparities.

To read AMA’s article in its entirety and learn more, click here


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

© The UCLA Center for Behavioral & Addiction Medicine (CBAM). All Rights Reserved.