Factors Supporting Substance Use Improvement for Black Americans: A Population Health Observational Study
Black clients in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment are associated with the lowest successful completion and substance use reductions. More work is needed to identify specific factors that support the successful recovery of Black clients.
Data from U.S. outpatient SUD treatment facilities receiving public funding from 2015 to 2019 were analyzed (N = 2239,197). Primary analyses consisted of Black clients (n = 277,726) reporting admission and discharge substance use frequency. Multiple logistic regression was used to predict substance use frequency improvement from Black client demographic, recovery capital, treatment characteristics, and state. Disparities were compared between Black and non-Black clients.
The overall Black client improvement percentage was 46.95%. Mutual-help group attendance and Length of Stay demonstrated clinically meaningful effect sizes controlling for all other variables and states. Attending mutual-help groups 8–30 times per month (State aOR = 2.54, 95% CI = 2.43, 2.64) and outpatient treatment stays of 4 months or more (State aOR = 2.50, 95% CI = 2.44, 2.56) were factors supporting Black client improvement. Importantly, states are associated with disparate Black client risk differences and only South Dakota had greater Black improvement (RD = 6.35, 95% CI = 1.00, 11.71).
Black client factors supporting substance use improvement include ancillary mutual-help group attendance and increased treatment retention. These factors may be more critical in states with larger Black improvement disparities. In general, treatment providers increasing access to mutual-help groups, and adjusting program inclusiveness and motivational factors for retention, would make strides in increasing improvement outcomes for Black clients.