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Addict Behav. 2017 Oct;73:119-123. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 May 9.

Does the implementation of evidence-based and culturally competent practices reduce disparities in addiction treatment outcomes?

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Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, 655 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089, United States. Electronic address:
RTI, 3040 E Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC 27709, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 2 West - Room 305 - 401 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215, United States. Electronic address:
Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, California State University, Fullerton, CA 90089, United States.



Research is limited on the extent to which implementation of evidence-based and culturally responsive practices reduces outcome disparities in substance use disorder treatment. We examined the role of contingency management treatment (CMT), medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and culturally competent practices on Mexican Americans' rate of successful completion of treatment.


We analyzed a concatenated dataset from 153 publicly funded substance use disorder treatment programs in Los Angeles County, California, in 2011 and 2013. These data were merged with data from 15,412 adult clients in both periods, of whom we selected only Mexican Americans (46.3%) and non-Latino Whites (53.7%). The outcome was successful treatment completion. The main independent variables were client demographics, drug use severity, mental health issues, and program license and professional accreditation.


Less than half of the programs highly implemented CMT, MAT, and culturally competent practices. CMT and cultural competence were not associated with successful treatment completion. However, Mexican Americans in programs with high degree of implementation of MAT had higher odds of successfully completing treatment compared to non-Latino Whites and programs with low MAT (OR=1.389; 95% CI=1.018, 1.897).


Findings highlight the role of MAT in reducing the disparity in treatment completion between Mexican Americans and non-Latino Whites. Implications for health policy and the dissemination of MAT are discussed.


Cultural competence; Evidence-based practices; Racial and ethnic groups; Successful treatment completion

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