White patients are more likely than Black patients to be given opioid medication for pain in US emergency departments

Trevor Thompson and Sofia Stathi

White people who visit hospital emergency departments with pain are 26% more likely than Black people to be given opioid pain medications such as morphine. This was a key finding from our recent study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. We also found that Black patients were 25% more likely than white patients to be given only non-opioid painkillers such as ibuprofen, which are typically available over the counter.