Opioid overdose deaths have disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic populations, in part due to disparities in treatment access. Emergency departments (EDs) serve as a resource for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD), many of whom have difficulty accessing outpatient addiction programs. However, inequities in ED treatment for OUD remain poorly understood.
Black patients with OUD were less likely to receive buprenorphine whereas Hispanic patients were more likely to receive buprenorphine in academic and community ED's. Differences were attenuated with discharge diagnosis, as fewer Black and non-Hispanic patients were diagnosed with opioid withdrawal. Barriers to medication treatment are heterogenous among patients with OUD; research must continue to address the multiple drivers of health inequities at the patient, clinician and community level.