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Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(1):49-54.

Unequal treatment: racial and ethnic disparities in alcoholism treatment services.

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Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Racial and ethnic disparities in alcoholism treatment may exist with respect to treatment need as well as access to, appropriateness, and quality of care. For any given level of alcohol consumption, ethnic minority populations experience more negative consequences of drinking than Whites and therefore have greater treatment needs. Whether access to treatment is more compromised for minority clients than for Whites is a matter of debate. It is clear, however, that ethnic disparities in the quality and appropriateness of alcohol services are ubiquitous. Despite these disparities, treatment often appears to be as successful for minority patients as for Whites. More in-depth investigations are needed to understand why outcomes often are similar despite disparities in treatment.

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