Socioeconomic Status Plays Major Role in Opioid Pain Control

Jun. 26, 2013

pain pillsBlacks, Hispanics, poor people, and those with lower education are less likely than more affluent people to received opiods for moderate to severe pain in emergency rooms – pointing to the need for a national discussion on unbiased treatment.

The URMC study, led by Robert J. Fortuna, M.D., of the Center for Primary Care, took place against the backdrop of a national epidemic of narcotics abuse, combined with a heightened need to satisfy patients’ legitimate complaints of pain.

Racial and ethnic disparities are already well-documented in the scientific literature, but the URMC team believes they are the first to investigate whether aspects of socioeconomic status also influence the prescription of opioid pain medications.

Although the study was not designed to answer why disparities occur, the authors said the reasons are complex and should be investigated further. To read more in the Journal of General Internal Medicine: