Addiction treatment more accessible to white patients, says study

Addiction treatment more accessible to white patients, says study

Buprenorphine is a crucial part of any addiction treatment in the United States. However, experts feel that it is not uniformly prescribed to patients visiting a doctor’s clinic for addiction treatment. To explore this belief further, researchers from the University of Michigan recently conducted a study to find out how often patients belonging to different races and backgrounds were prescribed Buprenorphine during their visit to the doctor’s clinic. Buprenorphine is currently the most favored drug for opioid addiction treatment in the U.S.

The study observed records from around 13 million doctor visits between 2012 and 2015 where buprenorphine was prescribed. The results showed that out of the total visits, 12.7 million of these accounted for visits by white patients whereas a mere 363,000 accounted for visits by people from other ethnic groups. This result contradicts the national survey which stated that white people were only slightly more likely to use opioid drugs without prescriptions than the African-Americans.

Buprenorphine prescribed to people with private insurances

The study also observed that those who were prescribed buprenorphine were more likely to pay in cash or have a private insurance, rather than Medicaid, a government supported insurance program. According to lead author, Pooja Lagisetty, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, the findings questioned if the people belonging to the low income strata or on government funded insurance programs had equal access to quality health care.

Another reason for the growing popularity of buprenorphine was its easy availability and the lower number of federal regulations attached to it compared to methadone, another addiction treatment drug. Moreover, the drug can also be taken in the privacy of the doctor’s clinic or in home settings.

Lagisetty added that buprenorphine was generally prescribed by liberal doctors, who accepted flexible payment plans. Due to the flexibility, it was hard to determine which group of people received what kind of benefits. Also the study did not take into account state data nor did it try to find out the reason behind the huge divide in buprenorphine prescription. To elaborate on this, it may be noted that while reports stated that more number of people belonging to the African-American were victims of overdose related death in cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C; in Philadelphia, more people from the white community were victims of overdose deaths.

Treatment for opioid addiction

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report stated that 2.1 million people over the age of 12 suffered from opioid use disorder (OUD) in the past year in the country. Opioid addiction not only causes physical problems but may also lead to the development of mental health disorders, leading to severe complications. It is therefore, important to stop the threat as early as possible.

Opioid addiction treatment requires medically supervised detox to flush out the toxins from the body. The detox needs to be complimented with therapy and counselling sessions. Therapy helps in identifying the triggers and learning coping skills to lead a sober life even after the treatment completes.

If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to opioids or any other drug and is looking for licensed inpatient drug rehabs in California, then get in touch with the California Drug Abuse Helpline. We can connect you with the best California drug rehabs offering customized opioid treatment plans. For more information about such centers, call our 24/7 drug addiction treatment helpline 855-980-1946 and speak to a member of our team. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance.

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