Meeting Summary – April 2022: Substance Use Remission & Racial Identities

May 5, 2022 | Meeting Summary


Bommersbach TJ, Jegede O, Stefanovics EA, Rhee TG, Rosenheck RA. Diagnostic remission of substance use disorders: Racial differences and correlates of remission in a nationally representative sample. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2022 May;136:108659.

Article Summary

Current research has indicated that racial/ethnic minority individuals and white individuals have a similar risk of developing substance use disorders. However, there is limited research examining the likelihood of diagnostic remission between racial/ethnic minority and white individuals. Using national survey data, the authors examined adults with lifetime substance use disorders and compared the proportions experiencing diagnostic remission between those who identified as racial/ethnic minorities or white.
After conducting regressions with the data, the authors determined that individuals identifying as racial/ethnic minorities were about half as likely to experience remission as those identifying as white. The authors noted that while a multitude of factors, such as socioeconomic status and gender, can contribute to this difference in remission likelihood, further research is needed to better understand why racial/ethnic minority individuals have a significantly lower likelihood of experiencing remission.

Key Themes and Discussion Summary

Displayed Data

Attendees of the group discussed how this article should have better displayed their data findings to be categorized by race and other demographics factors. This led to group attendees discussing the importance of data being displayed with demographics factors for readers to full understand how varying identity groups are affected by substance use.

Defining Recovery

The definition of when an individual is considered to be in recovery was described in the manuscript as varying amongst folks in the community. Group attendees discussed that what constitutes someone as being remissed from substance use between being in recovery varied from person-to-person.

Severity Differences

Group attendees discussed how the varying severities of substance use disorders can cause and/or prevent folks from engaging in treatment. For instance, a group attendee discussed that if an individual is experiencing a mild substance use disorder as opposed to severe, they may be less likely to enter treatment, and thus not be included in this data.

Lived Experience

The notion of how common it is folks researcher without lived experience to be designing substance use studies was brought up by a group attendee. This then led to a discussion on how folks with lived experience need to be valued in administrative and research positions so that they are able to provide their lived experience knowledge and guide the design of research studies.

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