Disparity Paper

Disparity Paper





Due Date


The paper explores the disparities affecting people with SUD. It shows how those belonging to minority ethnic groups have more difficulty accessing the needed services, and have poorer health outcomes. Reviewing the selected peer-reviewed journal confirms this argument, and based on the findings, there is need to emphasize on measures that would alleviate the disparity. However, continued neglect may lead affected individuals to more problems that would be difficult to overcome.

Disparity Paper

Disparity is usually utilized to describe an economic or social condition that is deemed unfairly unequal. For instance, it is possible to talk about racial disparity in staffing, health disparity between the poor and the rich, and an income disparity between women and men. However, it is important to draw the difference between disparity and inequity. The two are interdependent, but different concepts that influence discourse on morals and ethics in various fields. Whereas disparity refers to a different of some type, inequity means some form of injustice and unfairness. Consequently, the analysis pays attention to disparity targeted towards those with substance abuse disorder. The approach this study uses to explore the topic is reviewing a peer reviewed journal that addresses the issue. Kathleen Burlew, Caravella McCuistian, and Jose Szapocznik’s Racial/Ethnic Equity in Substance Use Treatment Research: The Way Forward, is the selected article for this assignment that would help to understand why more attention should be directed towards people with substance abuse disorder to safeguard them against the disparity that deny affected people equal attention as others. The analysis gives an overview of the article, identifies its strengths and weaknesses, and makes suggestions for future research. Completing the task is important because it helps to understand how disparity, especially which directed toward individuals with substance abuse disorder can derail the attempts to help affected persons. The findings of this review encourage various groups, including the government and non-government organizations to take the disparity seriously and introduce mechanisms that would help to counter the disparity, which if left unattended may have far-reaching implications. Acting swiftly and effectively toward countering the disparity would help to ensure that affected individuals get the attention they require and are able to deal with other existing constraints.


The article informs that the use of opioids and opioid-related overdoses continue to escalate among ethnic/racial minorities. Burlew et al. (2021) inform that social determinants of health adversely impact the population, potentially resulting in unsatisfying treatment outcomes. Research is necessary to examine how to deal with the deleterious and disproportionate effects of social determinants of health on treatment procedures, drug use, retention, and related consequences among ethnic/racial minorities. Thus, the commentary by Burlew et al. (2021) includes recommendations that may assist researchers react more appropriately to lowering health disparities in treating those with substance abuse disorder. The researchers commence with suggestions of best research practices such as ensuring enough recruitment of ethnic/racial minorities in practice and research, enough methods for determining magnitude of the problem, especially among minority ethnic groups, and chief elements of valid assessment. The paper also touches on the idea that most researches by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) pay much attention to issues on an unequal basis, thus affecting those affected by drugs and belong to minority populations. The scholars also suggest ways for elevating the quantity of underrepresented ethnic treatment scholars while arguing that the approach could help significantly to overcome or subdue the disparity (Burlew et al., 2021). The authors emphasize the need to infuse racial experts in funding panels responsible for making decisions on what need to happen to help the affected group. In addition, including a case study that explains the functions of National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network established by NIDA shows how disregarding the disparity may only aggravate the problem and make it more difficult to help affected individuals in minority ethnic groups (Burlew et al., 2021). Therefore, the content of the paper is instrumental in knowing how disparity impacts on people with substance abuse disorder and also belong to minority ethnic groups.  

Looking at the paper, it is possible to point out some aspects that could be termed as the strength of the paper. An evident strength in the paper is that the authors adequately develop the idea that those with substance abuse disorder face considerable challenges in terms of getting needed services and support. According to the researchers, the issue is compounded by the fact that those largely affected by substance abuse belong to minority ethnic groups such as Hispanics and Blacks. Burlew et al. (2021) share the same view with Acevedo et al. (2018) that these racial minorities have worse treatment encounters and results in substance use disorder (SUD) therapy compared to non-Hispanic Whites. For instance, Burlew et al. (2021) inform, ethnic or racial minorities are likely to access or commence treatment much later in their attempt to fight addiction. In addition, Burlew et al. (2021) have the same view as Acevedo et al. (2020) that substance abusers from the minority groups have a slim chance of completing treatment. In addition to the clear argument on the disparity against ethnic minorities, the authors perform qualitative research with one of the key objectives being to suggest the way forward that enhances the capacity for performing researches dedicated towards lessening treatment outcome disparities for SUD and opioid use disorder (OUD) among racial minorities. The researchers analyze a sample of 72,242 people in the TEDS-D dataset (Burlew et al., 2021). The study revealed that Blacks were not likely to overcome substance abuse after treatment compared to non-Hispanic Whites, and that Blacks undergoing substance abuse treatment had less satisfying results compared to non-Hispanic Whites (Burlew et al., 2021). Based on the findings, it is apparent that Blacks and other minority populations may not be receiving adequate attention as it happens to non-Hispanic Whites, thus resulting in few severe instances.

However, it is also possible to identify some weak aspects that influence the nature of the article. An evident limitation in the writing is that whereas the authors include statistical data to support their argument, particularly when addressing the need to expand racial investigators reach to research funding, it would be more enticing if the scholars added table and charts to support their argument. Including the visual features would enhance how readers remember what they read, and would simplify the searching of information rather than having to go through a large paragraph. The other weakness is that the introductory section is brief and hardly provides needed information. Precisely, the conclusion is only one sentence, thus reaffirming how the authors fail to give a clear recap of what they address in the paper. Nonetheless, the identified limitations do not tamper with how the article reveals the message, although the deficiencies may determine how future researchers organize their work and findings.

Nonetheless, readers pick valuable lessons from the article that may help to understand why people with substance abuse disorder require attention and care as opposed to discriminating them and denying them the focus that they require to get over the situation. A key lesson, and which stakeholders should take seriously is that one’s racial/ethnic status could determine an individual’s access to SUD and OUD treatment, and could also influence the outcome for mitigation. In their article, Were et al. (2020) who also believe that ethnicity plays crucial roles in determining access to substance abuse treatment recommend the need to formulate policies that advocate for fair treatment of all affected individuals without considering their background or affiliation. In addition, the society needs to embrace a different view on those who belong to minority groups because continued disparity in seeking healthcare will create a scenario where some individuals are deprived of good health while their counterparts enjoy superior services (Parlier-Ahmad et al., 2021). In addition, nurturing the disparity will derail the fight against racial discrimination that has formed a large part of many discourses since the historical times.

Reviewing the selected article reveals that disparity against people with substance abuse disorder is real and that something needs to happen to mitigate the issue. It emerges that the disparity is worse for people from minority groups, which makes it difficult to access the needed care and attention. An evident strength in the article is that the author elaborates on the disparities affecting SUD and OUD patients, and why there is need to address the imbalance. The author also performs a study aimed at offering more insight into the problem. However, lack of visual presentations and the failure to give a though review of the major points present the weak aspects in the paper. However, the argument passes fundamental lessons to various groups that may help to embrace practices that boost how affected individuals access help regardless of their ethnicity.


Acevedo, A., Harvey, N., Kamanu, M., Tendulkar, S., Fleary, S. (2020). Barriers, facilitators, and disparities in retention for adolescents in treatment for substance use disorders: A qualitative study with treatment providers. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 15(42), https://substanceabusepolicy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13011-020-00284-4

Acevedo, A., Panas, L., Garnick, D., Acevedo-Garcia, D., Miles, J. (2018). Disparities in the treatment of substance use disorders: Does where you live matter? The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 45(4), 533-549. doi: 10.1007/s11414-018-9586-y

Burlew, K., & McCuistian, C., & Szapocznik, J. (2021). Racial/ethnic equity in substance use treatment research: The way forward. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 16(50), https://ascpjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13722-021-00256-4

Parlier-Ahmad, A., Pugh, M., & Martin, C. (2021). Treatment outcomes among Black adults receiving medication for opioid use disorder. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40615-021-01095-4

Were, V., Okoyo, C., Araka, S., Kanyi, H. (2020). Socioeconomic disparities in drugs and substance abuse: Results from a household cross-sectional survey in Murang’ a County, Kenya. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351753853_Socioeconomic_Disparities_in_Drugs_and_Substance_Abuse_Results_from_a_Household_Cross-sectional_Survey_in_Murang’_a_County_Kenya

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