Studies show that African American and Latinx individuals are far less likely than white people to complete outpatient and residential substance use disorder treatment.
The inequity is also in access to medication. NPR highlighted a recent study by Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, who stated that “this epidemic over the last few years has been framed by many as a largely white epidemic, but we know now that’s not true.”
Lagisetty found that as overdose deaths rose between 2012 and 2015, so did though the number of medical visits where buprenorphine was prescribed. However, researchers found no increase in prescriptions for African Americans and other minorities. In fact, the study found that white populations are almost 35 times more likely to have a buprenorphine visit than African Americans even though death rates among people of color were rising faster than white people. Researchers also observed that these visits were paid for by cash (40 percent), or private insurance (35 percent) rather than with Medicaid (25 percent), suggesting inequalities in healthcare.
“We shouldn’t see differences this large, given that people of color have similar rates of opioid use disorder,” says Lagisetty. “As the number of Americans with opioid use disorder grows, we need to increase access to treatment for black and low-income populations, and be thoughtful about how we reach all those who could benefit from this treatment.”
People of color have less access to treatment not only due to socio-economic circumstances. There is also a disparity in how drug use is viewed in communities of color. Despite similar rates of drug use and sales, people of color are more likely than white people to be arrested and receive harsher punishments for drug-related offenses.
Read full article here by Olivia Pennelle founder of the popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, a site dedicated to helping people flourish in their recovery. Liv is passionate about challenging limiting mentalities and empowering others to direct their own lives, health, and recovery.
Liv also co-hosts a podcast — Breaking Free: Your Recovery. Your Way. Listen here.