• Race-based differences in drug use prior to onset of opioid use disorder

      Deutsch-Link, Sasha; Belcher, Annabelle M; Massey, Ebonie; Cole, Thomas O; Wagner, Michael A; Billing, Amy S; Greenblatt, Aaron D; Weintraub, Eric; Wish, Eric D (Routledge, 2021-02-07)
      Rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) have increased dramatically over the past two decades, a rise that has been accompanied by changing demographics of those affected. Early exposure to drugs is a known risk factor for later development of opioid use disorder; but how and whether this risk factor may differ between racial groups is unknown. Our study seeks to identify race differences in self-report of current and past substance use in OUD-diagnosed treatment-seeking individuals. Patients (n = 157) presenting for methadone maintenance treatment at a racially diverse urban opioid treatment program were approached and consented for study involvement. Participants were administered substance use history questionnaires and urine drug screening at intake. Chi-square, t-tests, and rank-sum were used to assess race differences in demographic variables. Logistic and linear regressions assessed the relationship between race and substance use for binary and continuous variables, respectively. 61% of the population identified as Black and 39% as White. Black participants were significantly older; age was thus included as a covariate. Logistic regressions demonstrated that despite similar urine toxicology at intake, White participants were significantly more likely to report having used prescription opioids and psychedelic, stimulant, and sedative substance classes prior to their first use of non-pharmaceutical opioids. Compared to Black participants, White treatment-seeking OUD-diagnosed individuals reported using a wider range of substances ever and prior to first use of non-pharmaceutical opioids. There were no differences, however, in presentation for OUD treatment, suggesting different pathways to OUD, which may carry important clinical implications. © 2021 The Author(s).