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American Indian and Alaska Natives in treatment for substance use disorders at publicly funded U.S. addiction treatment programs

Thomas M. Brady, PhD, Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Suite 16-105, Rockville, MD 20857, (301) 443-9049, tbrady@samhsa.gov

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a 2002 report that discussed disparities in health status and urged researchers to collect and report health care data by patient’s race and ethnicity. This paper aims to describe American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) treatment admissions in terms of drug use and demographic characteristics. Methods: Previously published data (2000 to 2003) from SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) were reviewed for reports of racial and ethnic disparities. TEDS 1999 and 2000 public use files were merged into a file of 3,187,000 records of admissions to publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs for analysis. The file included records of 86,000 AIAN treatment admissions. Findings: The AIAN admissions for alcohol use decreased 10.5 percent between 1994 and 1999/2000, while admissions for illicit drug use increased 77.6 percent. In 2001, American Indians or Alaska Natives had a higher rate of past year dependence or abuse on illicit drugs or alcohol than persons from other racial/ethnic groups. Using the TEDS 1999 and 2000 public use files, the most common treatment admissions for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives were alcohol (62.0 percent), marijuana (12.8 percent), heroin and other opiates (9.1 percent), stimulants (6.1 percent) and cocaine (6.0 percent). A higher proportion of AIAN treatment admissions were younger, female, and unemployed than among the total treatment population. Discussion: Public data systems can help illustrate health disparities that affect native communities by describing data in terms of race and ethnicity.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Healing Mind, Body, and Spirit

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA