The Impact of Self-Help Groups on Successful Substance Use Treatment Completion for Opioid Use: An Intersectional Analysis of Race/Ethnicity and Sex

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Introduction: Race/ethnicity and sex disparities in substance use and substance use treatment completion are well documented in the literature. Previous literature has shown that participation in self-help groups is associated with higher rates of substance use treatment completion. While most of this research has focused on the completion of treatment for alcohol and stimulant use, research examining this relationship using an intersectional approach for individuals in treatment for opioid use is limited. Methods: Thus, the current study utilized responses from the Treatment Episodes Data Set–Discharges, 2015–2017 to examine disparities in the relationship between participation in self-help groups and substance use treatment completion for individuals undergoing treatment for opioid use based on sex, race, and ethnicity. Results: Results revealed a positive association between participation in self-help groups and treatment completion among those in treatment for opioid use across race, ethnicity, and sex. Further, the study found several differences in this association based on one's race, ethnicity, and sex. When compared to men of other races/ethnicities, the association between self-help group participation and treatment completion was highest among Black men. Conclusions: The results of the current study extend the knowledge-base about self-help participation's role in promoting successful substance use treatment completion to individuals in treatment for opioid use. Results also highlight the need to examine treatment outcomes with an intersectional lens.