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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Sep 1;178:512-518. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

Racial and ethnic differences in opioid agonist treatment for opioid use disorder in a U.S. national sample.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States. Electronic address: noa.krawczyk@jhu.edu.
2
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States.
3
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 733 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States.
4
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, 21205, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) is the standard of care for the treatment of opioid use disorders. However, most people in treatment do not receive OAT. This study evaluated whether there are racial and/or ethnic differences in OAT receipt among adults entering specialty treatment for opioid use disorders in publicly-funded treatment programs across the U.S.

METHODS:

Using data from the national Treatment: Episode Data Base, odds of OAT receipt were compared among black, Hispanic and white clients. Mediation analyses were used to explore whether any racial/ethnic differences in OAT receipt were explained by variation in clinical need or by other treatment, sociodemographic, or geographic characteristics. Interaction terms were used to assess whether this association was modified by primary opioid type.

RESULTS:

Only 28.7% of clients received OAT. Odds of OAT receipt were significantly higher odds among blacks (OR: 2.27(2.14-2.41)) and Hispanics (OR: 1.98(1.88-2.09)), compared to whites. Differences in clinical need accounted for a substantial portion of this difference (76.79% and 49.74%, respectively). Differences persisted after accounting for other potential explanatory variables (adjusted OR: 1.37 (1.24-1.52); 1.21(1.11-1.32)), but were only evident for primary heroin users (adjusted OR: 1.50 (1.34-1.69); 1.29 (1.17-1.42)) and not other opioid users.

CONCLUSIONS:

OAT receipt in treatment programs is low overall and particularly lacking among white heroin users. Differences in OAT receipt cannot be fully explained by differences in clinical need. More research is needed to understand and address barriers that underpin these differences so more patients with opioid use disorder can access evidenced-based treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Ethnic minorities; Medication assisted treatment; Opioid agonist treatment; Opioid treatment programs; Opioid use disorder; Racial disparities

PMID:
28719885
PMCID:
PMC5557040
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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