Health Disparities and Drug Abuse: What Have We Learned? Where Are We Going?

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Ramada Inn, Rockville, Maryland


United States

Meeting Summary

NIDA Organizers: The Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research Health
Disparities Work Group, Chair: Dionne Jones, Ph.D., Services Research Branch

Meeting Purpose:

The Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research hosted the meeting on July 20-21, 2005 for health disparities RFA and Supplement grantees to share findings from their research projects on health disparities and to make recommendations on next steps for further research in health disparities related to drug abuse and health consequences.

Meeting Outcome:

Six panels of researchers presented their work in the areas of: 1) Epidemiology; 2) Family and Children; 3) Adolescents; 4) HIV and Injection Drug Use; 5) Treatment Issues; and 6) Vulnerable Populations. Panels consisted of one or two presenters who were RFA grantees and two or three panelists who were supplement awardees. Topics addressed were as follows:

First panel:

  • A comparative analysis of drug and tobacco use among persons 15-54 years in two American Indian communities;
  • An examination of disparities in drug use, service utilization, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors among US/Mexico border residents at three sites;
  • Evaluation of a treatment program for African American and White veterans admitted to a Veterans Medical Center for cocaine dependency; and
  • Substance use and HIV-related risk practices among a sample of foreign- and US-born Southeast Asians in an urban setting.

Second panel:

  • The role of childhood living arrangements and older siblings? behavior on adolescent drug use, as well as the relationship between race/ethnicity and drug use;
  • Differences in cognitive development of African American and White children about drugs and children?s intuitive theories regarding drug use, and the effects of drug use; and
  • The consequences of drug use on the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Third panel:

  • The effects of exposure to community violence and ethnic identity development on substance use in a sample of African American youth 14-18 years old;
  • Protective effects of competence skills on adolescent drug use; competence skills based on decision making, self-regulation, and self-reinforcement were shown to be protective against drug use; and
  • Microsocial dynamics of multisystemic therapy, particularly the ability of therapists to implement evidence-based treatment models in a culturally competent way.

Fourth panel:

  • A cognitive behavioral stress management intervention for HIV-positive, recovering drug abusers among whom high rates of co-occurring conditions were observed;
  • Differences in access to services and perceptions of quality of life among a racially mixed sample; criminal justice disparities leading to health disparities; and racial differences in drug purchasing behaviors; and
  • An intervention that utilized different approaches to reduce HIV risk among out-of-treatment drug users.

Fifth panel:

  • The relationship of race/ethnicity with immutable individual differences, mutable predispositions, background variables, and acute precipitants of smoking motivation and relapse among African American and Hispanic smokers;
  • Racial differences related to health problems and needs, and substance abuse treatment;
  • Individual- and program-level measures that were developed to examine two types of treatment programs; and
  • Special efforts made to develop procedures to increase the number of Asian participants recruited to a study on smoking cessation.

Sixth panel:

  • Drug abuse, health and access to enabling resources and medical care among a group of homeless women;
  • The relationship between acculturation and intake levels of drug use among dual diagnosed Hispanic adolescents referred for residential treatment;
  • Evaluation of the efficacy of contingency management for Latino substance abuse patients entering treatment, and assessment of differences among Latino, African American and European American patients; and
  • Drug use among Asian American youth in the electronic dance music scene in San Francisco.

Expected follow-up

Several of the research studies are ongoing and the investigators plan to expand their work in health disparities. NIDA plans to continue working with these investigators and to encourage new investigators to begin work in health disparities research.

Resulting Publications

No publications are planned or anticipated at this time.