New Pew Research Shows Race Disparity in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Medicare recipients are receiving varying levels and types of opioid use disorder treatment based on race and ethnicity. 

Pew States recently shared an article with new research findings showing that racial and ethnic minorities were less likely to receive buprenorphine when accessing resources through Medicare. This is the evidence-based, Food and Drug Administration-approved medication for an opioid use disorder. These new statistics are particularly concerning due to the rise in opioid overdose death rates, notably among black Americans. The numbers were even more problematic when controlled for black Americans with disabilities that are also receiving Medicare. The full report can be found on the Pew Trusts website.

The research findings were followed with a list of recommendations for federal and state policymakers to consider when establishing policies that improve equitable treatment access.

  • The federal government and states must collect and report data disaggregated by race and ethnicity.
  • Health care payers such as Medicare should incentivize programs and providers to reduce disparities.
  • Federal and state policymakers should support buprenorphine prescribing initiatives.

Read the full Pew Trusts article.