Skip to Content

Lower socioeconomic groups less likely to complete rehab


A new study published in Health Affairs found that factors linked to low socioeconomic status influenced addiction treatment outcomes negatively.

Specifically, lack of education, unemployment and being discharged from an "non-intensive" outpatient addiction program were associated with not completing a drug or alcohol treatment program.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard teamed up to study the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2007 Treatment Episode Data Set. The data provided statistics on addiction treatment throughout the US.


Approximately 60 percent of the people who sought treatment were white, and 40 percent were black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American minorities.

The authors note that treatment completion was low in all of the racial groups, but that black and Hispanic populations had the lowest rates--an outcome the authors believe has to do with socioeconomic inequality.

Blacks and Hispanics were between 1 and 8 percent less likely to complete a drug treatment program than whites, and they were 4 to 8 percent less likely to complete an alcohol treatment program than white people.

Brendan Saloner, PhD, study author and health services and policy researcher from the University of Pennsylvania, notes that blacks and Hispanics were also more likely to be homeless--a clear barrier to having the resources to afford treatment.

"Our findings show troubling racial disparities in the completion of alcohol and drug abuse programs, and they point specifically to socioeconomic barriers that make it difficult for minority groups to access and sustain treatment,” said Saloner.

The authors say that solutions should include better funding and more targeted interventions and outreach for minority populations.

Source: Daily rX