Native Americans on tribal lands are facing some of the highest per-capita rates of coronavirus infections because of struggles with health disparities, infrastructure and housing problems, isolation and poverty. "But tribal leaders say they have not lost sight of the ongoing devastation caused by prescription opioids," Sari Horwitz, Debbie Cenziper and Steven Rich 

report

 for The Washington Post. "As more than 3,000 cities and counties — along with most states — pursue billions in settlement dollars from opioid manufacturers and distributors, tribal leaders are fighting for a fair share of the proceeds through a series of lawsuits filed by Indian tribes. At the height of the opioid epidemic, Native Americans overdosed and died at a rate that rivaled some of the hardest-hit regions in Appalachia. Nationwide, from 2006 to 2014, Native Americans were nearly 50 percent more likely to die of an opioid overdose than non-natives."


Oklahoma was particularly hard hit, with opioid-overdose death rates three times higher than the nationwide rate for non-Natives from 2006 to 2014. "At least 370 Native Americans in Oklahoma overdosed and died — with a death rate roughly equivalent to that of West Virginia, federal data shows. Experts say the number of deaths for Native Americans is likely to be far higher because they are often mistakenly classified as white on death certificates," the Post reports.