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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Researchers Examine Whether Racial Discrimination in Medical Settings is Protective for Blacks Against Opioid Pain Reliever Misuse

In the U.S., whites are more likely to misuse opioid pain relievers (OPRs) than blacks are, and blacks are less likely to be prescribed OPRs than whites are. In a study published in Plos One, researchers examined whether racial discrimination in medical settings is protective for blacks against misuse, therefore mediating black and white disparities in misuse.

Researchers used data from 3,528 black and white adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. They employed causal mediation methods, with race as the exposure, lifetime discrimination in medical settings prior to the year 2000 as the mediator, and OPR misuse after 2000 as the outcome.

They found that black participants were more likely to report discrimination in a medical setting and less likely to report OPR misuse. The mediation models suggest that when everyone is not discriminated against, the disparity is wider with black persons than their white counterparts. These results suggest that racial discrimination in a medical setting is a risk factor for OPR misuse rather than being protective, and thus could not explain the black-white disparity in OPR misuse.

Co-authors of the study include Dr. Samuel Swift from the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine, Dr. Maria Glymour from the University of California in San Francisco, Dr. Tali Elfassy and Dr. Daniel Feaster, both from the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, Dr. Cora Lewis from the University of Alabama, Dr. Catarina Kiefe from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Stephen Sidney from Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Sebastian Calonico from Columbia University, Dr. Zinzi Bailey from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dr. Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri from Columbia University.

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