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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 23, Issue 1, 2020. Pages: 19-25
Published Online: 1 March 2020

Copyright © 2020 ICMPE.


 

Racial Disparities in Payment Source of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment among Non-Incarcerated Justice-Involved Adults in the United States

Maria X. Sanmartin,1* Ryan M. McKenna,2 Mir M. Ali,3 Jean D. Krebs4

1Ph.D., Department of Health Professions, Hofstra University, 220 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549-2200, USA
2Ph.D., Department of Health Management and Policy, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
3Ph.D., Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, DC, USA
4J.D. Candidate, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University, MPH Candidate, School of Health Professions and Human Services, Hofstra University, B.A., State University of New York at Binghamton, NY, USA

* Correspondence to: Maria X. Sanmartin, Ph.D., Department of Health Professions, Hofstra University, 220 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549-2200, USA.
Tel.: +1-516-463 4552
E-mail: maria.x.sanmartin@hofstra.edu.

Source of Funding: None declared.

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Abstract
Research has documented a low rate of opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment utilization among individuals involved in the criminal justice system. However, racial disparities in sources of payment for OUD treatment have not been examined in the existing literature. Using data from the 2008-2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, this study seeks to quantify racial disparities in sources of payment for OUD treatment among individuals with criminal justice involvement. Results from an extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition indicate that non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to have their OUD treatment paid for by a court (10%) relative to non-Hispanic Blacks (4.0%). Black-White differences in measurable factors explain 87% of the disparity, while the rest is attributed to unobserved factors. Equitable treatment options in the criminal justice system that incentivize OUD treatment availability may help address racial disparities in sources of payment among the criminal justice-involved population with OUD.


Background: Research has documented a low rate of opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment utilization among individuals involved in the criminal justice system. However, racial disparities in sources of payment for OUD treatment have not been examined in the existing literature.

Aim of the Study: Although substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is relatively rare for all criminal justice system involved racial-groups, previous research has indicated that, among individuals with SUD, members of racial minority groups receive treatment at lower rates than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Given the alarming rise of OUD in the US and the association between source of payment and utilization of health care services, this study seeks to quantify racial disparities in sources of payment for OUD treatment among individuals with criminal justice involvement.

Method: Using data from the 2008-2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this study analyzes data on non-incarcerated individuals with OUD who have had any criminal justice involvement in the previous 12 months. An extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method for non-linear models is implemented to determine the extent that differences in OUD treatment utilization across non-Hispanic Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites are explained by observed and measurable characteristics and/or unobserved factors.

Results: Results indicate that non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to have their OUD treatment paid by a court (10%) relative to non-Hispanic Blacks (4.0%). Black-White differences in measurable factors explain 87% of the disparity, while the rest is attributed to unobserved factors. Non-Hispanic Blacks are more likely to have their OUD treatment paid by public insurance (77% vs 36%) than non-Hispanic Whites and only 72% of this disparity can be explained by observed characteristics.

Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: Our findings indicate racial disparities in sources of payment for OUD treatment among the criminal justice-involved population. Expansion of health insurance coverage and access to substance use disorder treatments would be beneficial for reducing health care disparities.

Implications for Health Policy: Equitable treatment options in the criminal justice system that incentivize OUD treatment availability may help address racial disparities in sources of payment among the criminal justice-involved population with OUD.

Implications for Further Research: Future research should focus on understanding the main factors driving the court's treatment decisions among the criminal justice system involved individuals.

Received 21 August 2018; accepted 6 December 2019

Copyright 2020 ICMPE