Drug treatment disparities among Hispanic drug-using women in Puerto Rico and New York City

Rafaela Rivera Robles, Tomás David Matos, Sherry Deren, Héctor Manuel Colón, Hardeo Sahai, Carmen Amalia Marrero, Juan Carlos Reyes, Jonny Andía, Elizabeth Winfield Shepard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports findings on 334 out-of-treatment drug users in Puerto Rico and 617 in New York City, at the 6-month follow-up interview of a Longitudinal Survey. Main outcomes were health care and drug treatment utilization since baseline, assessed by asking participants if they had received physical or mental health services (including HIV medications), and if they had been in methadone maintenance, inpatient or outpatient drug treatment, or drug treatment while incarcerated. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate associations between gender and the various correlates. Logistic regression was used to calculate the contribution of each variable in predicting use of drug treatment. The analysis suggests that women in both sites were likely to suffer from disparities in both health care and drug treatment utilization when compared with men, albeit women in New York utilized more drug treatment resources and were more embedded in the immediate family than their female peers in Puerto Rico. Further research to specify the impact of contextual factors at the organizational and community levels, among members of the same ethnic group residing in different sites, may prove valuable in identifying the health needs and the factors that impede or facilitate drug-using women in obtaining the most appropriate treatment. Findings from these studies can help in developing appropriate public health policy and science-based drug treatment programs to eliminate disparities such as the ones detected in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalHealth policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Disparities
  • Drug treatment utilization
  • Puerto Rico
  • Women health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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