Minorities Tested For Drugs, Alcohol More Often Than Whites, Hospital Admissions Study Says

Sacramento, CA: Racial and ethnic minority patients admitted to US hospitals are more likely than Caucasians to be drug tested, according to a soon-to-be published study in the August issue of the journal Health Policy.

Among adult US trauma patients, “Black and Hispanic males in all injury severity groups were tested for alcohol more frequently than Caucasian males,” authors at the University of California at Davis determined.

“Hispanic males in the moderate injury group were also tested for drugs more frequently than Caucasian males.”

Authors based their findings on an evaluation of more than 79,000 adults admitted to 58 institutions participating in the US National Trauma Data Bank.

According to survey data published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Caucasians consume alcohol and use illicit drugs in greater numbers than African-Americans or Hispanics.

“Racial and ethnic minority trauma patients in the US are tested for alcohol and drugs at higher rates after adjusting for potential cofounders,” authors concluded. “Because having a positive alcohol or drug test can adversely affect a patient’s medical care, differential testing that is racially or ethnically biased may place minority patients at risk of receiving disparate care.”

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-5500.