Racial/ethnic differences in access to substance abuse treatment

Celia C. Lo, Tyrone Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A secondary dataset, Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), 2001-2003, was employed to examine racial/ethnic differences in access to specialty and non-specialty substance abuse treatment (compared with no access to treatment). The study found that non-Hispanic White Americans were (1) likelier than members of all racial/ ethnic minority groups (other than Hispanics) to address substance abuse by accessing care through specialty addiction-treatment facilities, and were (2) also less likely to access substance abuse care through non-specialty facilities. Because non-specialty facilities may have staffs whose professional training does not target treating chronic, bio-psycho-social illness such as substance abuse, our results imply that treatment facilities deemed non-specialty may need to enhance staff training, in order to ensure individuals are properly screened for substance use conditions and are referred for or provided with effective counseling and medications as appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-637
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Access to treatment services
  • Non-specialty treatment
  • Racial/ethnic minorities
  • Specialty facilities
  • Specialty treatment


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