Context Matters: Health Disparities in Substance Use Disorders and Treatment

Publication Date


Document Type


Organizational Units

Graduate School of Social Work


Context, Cultural competence, Disparities, Racism, Social work education, Substance use disorders


Social work is uniquely poised to lead in the development and implementation of multilevel strategies to both address substance use disorders (SUDs) and tackle existing inequities in SUD treatment. It is critical that there be an explicit focus on context, racial justice, and community empowerment in educational efforts designed to train graduate social work students when preparing them for professional work in the behavioral health field. This article provides a review of the literature on disparities in SUD and SUD treatment. The notion of cultural competence in SUD treatment is critically examined. Finally, the role of social work education and training in tackling inequity and the realization of justice is discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by author or publisher. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

This document is currently not available here.