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Keywords:

  • Drug treatment outcome;
  • ethnic differences;
  • hispanic;
  • methamphetamine;
  • utilization

Objective. To examine differences in drug treatment service needs, utilization, satisfaction, and outcomes between Hispanic and white methamphetamine (meth) abusers.

Data Sources. Intake assessments and follow-up interviews of 128 Hispanic and 371 non-Hispanic white meth abusers admitted during 2000–2001 to 43 drug treatment programs in 13 counties across California.

Study Design. A prospective longitudinal study comparing ethnic differences in problem severity during pre- and posttreatment periods, as well as in services received during treatment.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods. The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) was administered at both intake and the 9-month follow-up to assess clients' problem severity in a number of domains. Service utilization and satisfaction were assessed 3 months following treatment admission.

Principal Findings. Hispanics were less educated and reported more employment difficulties than whites. Whites were more likely to be treated in residential programs than Hispanics despite similar severity in drug and alcohol use, legal, medical and family/social problems, and psychiatric status. Significantly more whites than Hispanics received psychiatric services, likely because more of them were treated in residential programs. Whites also reported receiving greater numbers of total services and services addressing alcohol and psychiatric problems. While no ethnic differences were found in treatment satisfaction and several other outcomes, Hispanics demonstrated better family and social outcomes than whites.

Conclusions. Both Hispanic and white meth abusers improved after treatment, although benefits from treatment can be further enhanced if services underscore different facets of their psychosocial problems.