Cover: Geographic and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Access to Methamphetamine Detoxification Services, United States, 2021

Geographic and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Access to Methamphetamine Detoxification Services, United States, 2021

Published in: Medical Care (2024). DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000002013

Posted on May 22, 2024

by George Pro, Jonathan H. Cantor, Mance Buttram, Clare C. Brown, Mofan Gu, Michael Mancino, Nickolas Zaller


Methamphetamine detoxification before entering formal and longer term treatment may have a positive impact on treatment retention and success. Understanding geographic distribution of methamphetamine specialty detox services and differential access by race/ethnicity is critical for establishing policies that ensure equitable access across populations.


We used the Mental health and Addiction Treatment Tracking Repository to identify treatment facilities that offered any substance use detoxification in 2021 (N=2346) as well as the census block group in which they were located. We sourced data from the US Census Bureau to identify the percentage of a census block group that was White, Black, and Hispanic. We used logistic regression to model the availability of methamphetamine-specific detox, predicted by the percentage of a block group that was Black and Hispanic. We adjusted for relevant covariates and defined state as a random effect. We calculated model-based predicted probabilities.


Over half (60%) of detox facilities offered additional detox services specifically for methamphetamine. Sixteen states had <10 methamphetamine-specific detox facilities. The predicted probability of methamphetamine-specific detox availability was 60% in census block groups with 0%-9% Black residents versus only 46% in census block groups with 90%-100% Black residents, and was 61% in census block groups with 0%-9% Hispanic residents versus 30% in census block groups with 90%-100% Hispanic residents.


During an unprecedented national methamphetamine crisis, access to a critical health care service was disproportionately lower in communities that were predominately Black and Hispanic. We orient our findings around a discussion of health disparities, residential segregation, and the upstream causes of the systematic exclusion of minoritized communities from health care.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.