Treatment outcome disparities for opioid users: Are there racial and ethnic differences in treatment completion across large US metropolitan areas?Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 09 01; 190:170-178.DA
The present study examined racial/ethnic disparities in initial treatment episode completion for adult clients reporting opioids as their primary problem substance in large US metropolitan areas.
Data were extracted from the 2013 TEDS-D dataset (Treatment Episode Dataset-Discharge) for the 42 largest US metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Fixed effects logistic regression controlling for MSA was used to estimate the effect of race/ethnicity on the likelihood of treatment completion. The model was repeated for each individual MSA in a stratified design to compare the geographic variation in racial/ethnic disparities, controlling for gender, age, education, employment, living arrangement, treatment setting, medication-assisted treatment, referral source, route of administration, and number of substances used at admission.
Only 28% of clients completed treatment, and the results from the fixed effects model indicate that blacks and Hispanics are less likely to complete treatment compared to whites. However, the stratified analysis of individual MSAs found only three of the 42 MSAs had racial/ethnic disparities in treatment completion, with the New York City (NYC) MSA largely responsible for the disparities in the combined sample. Supplementary analyses suggest that there are greater differences between whites and minority clients in the NYC MSA vs. other cities on characteristics associated with treatment completion (e.g., residential treatment setting).
This study underscores the need for improving treatment retention for all opioid using clients in large metropolitan areas in the US, particularly for minority clients in those localities where disparities exist, and for better understanding the geographic context for treatment outcomes.