ST. LOUIS (AP) — Overdose deaths among Black Americans surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In St. Louis, deaths among Black people increased last year at three times the rate of whites, skyrocketing more than 33%. Dr. Kanika Turner describes the soaring death rate as a civil rights issue as pressing as any other. The communities being hit hardest are those already devastated by the war on drugs that demonized Black drug users and hollowed out neighborhoods by sending Black men to prison instead of treatment, she said. Even today, Black people are more likely to be in jail and less likely to access treatment.