Minorities Suffer from Unequal Pain Treatment

African Americans have been largely insulated from the opioid crisis—possibly due to insurance gaps and a general aversion to the drugs, but also likely due to stereotyping and discrimination. One analysis, which reviewed 20 years of published research, found that African Americans were 34% less likely to get prescription opioids for migraines and back or abdominal pain. They were 14% less likely to be prescribed them even following surgery or a serious injury. Other studies have also documented the reluctance to treat African Americans with opioids. Researchers surmise that health professionals work under the false belief that African Americans are more likely to abuse drugs. Additionally, some doctors may have less empathy for people racially different from themselves and, thus, tend to underestimate their pain. (Source: Pharmacy Today, APhA, 08/10/16)