Tuesday, January 01, 2008

White people are prescribed narcotics for pain more than others racial/ethnic groups

AP via Yahoo News.
"The irony is that blacks are the least likely group to abuse prescription drugs."

Emergency room doctors are prescribing strong narcotics more often to patients who complain of pain, but minorities are less likely to get them than whites, a new study finds. Even for the severe pain of kidney stones, minorities were prescribed narcotics such as oxycodone and morphine less frequently than whites.

The analysis of more than 150,000 emergency room visits over 13 years found differences in prescribing by race in both urban and rural hospitals, in all U.S. regions and for every type of pain.

"The gaps between whites and nonwhites have not appeared to close at all," said study co-author Dr. Mark Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco.

The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Prescribing narcotics for pain in emergency rooms rose during the study, from 23 percent of those complaining of pain in 1993 to 37 percent in 2005.

Even with the increase, the racial gap endured. Linda Simoni-Wastila of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Pharmacy said the race gap finding may reveal some doctors' suspicions that minority patients could be drug abusers lying about pain to get narcotics.

The irony, she said, is that blacks are the least likely group to abuse prescription drugs. Hispanics are becoming as likely as whites to abuse prescription opioids and stimulants, according to her research.

In the study,
opioid narcotics were prescribed in

31 percent of the pain-related visits involving whites,

percent for Asians,
24 percent for Hispanics
23 percent for blacks.

Minorities were slightly more likely than whites to get aspirin, ibuprofen and similar drugs for pain.

In more than 2,000 visits for kidney stones,

whites got narcotics 72 percent of the time,
Hispanics 68 percent,
Asians 67 percent
and blacks 56 percent.

The rest of the AP article on this, sans cranky formatting, but with theories as to the WHY of this, is here.
This is the original.

White people. Can't hardly see 'em half of the time, but they seem to get all the good stuff.

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