Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Opioid Use Disorder and Poisoning Emergency Department Visits in Florida

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 Nov 2. doi: 10.1007/s40615-020-00901-9. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: To examine the role of individual race/ethnicity and community racial/ethnic mix on the type of opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits in Florida.

METHODS: The study identifies opioid-related ED visits that involved heroin, non-heroin poisoning, and opioid use disorder (OUD) from the first quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2018 in Florida. The trend is depicted by patients’ race/ethnicity and racial/ethnic mix of residential communities. Combined with zip code tabulation area data, the study builds a multilevel model and examines how individual-level and community-level covariates relate to the type of opioid-related ED visits.

RESULTS: While opioid-related ED visit rate was highest among white patients, majority-black communities caught up with the majority-white communities in the visit rate. The multilevel model results suggest that the likelihood of an opioid-related ED visit involving heroin, non-heroin poisoning, or OUD differed by patient race/ethnicity as well as community racial/ethnic mix. Opioid-related ED visits among minority patients were more likely to involve non-heroin poisoning than non-Hispanic white patients, whereas patients from minority-dominant communities were more likely to involve heroin poisoning than from majority-white communities. However, community racial/ethnic mix was not significantly or less significantly associated with the likelihood of involving OUD ED visits.

CONCLUSIONS: The study highlights the heterogeneity of the opioid overdose problem across racial/ethnic patients and communities with different racial/ethnic mixes. Future policies may consider the effect of living in different racial/ethnic mixed communities in addition to individual race/ethnicity.

PMID:33140289 | DOI:10.1007/s40615-020-00901-9