In this brief, we highlight experiences and practices from substance use treatment providers and their human services partners when serving people of color. We selected providers that focused on serving people of color, and this study was not intended to assess outcomes or effectiveness of any of the practices highlighted.
- Treatment providers highlighted several practices that promoted active and positive participation in their programs by people of color:
- Incorporate the community’s cultural values into organizational structures and treatment models.
- Engage the community in designing programs and services and hire staff that reflect the community.
- Address the comprehensive health, social, and economic needs of participants.
- Incorporate harm reduction services and healing-centered approaches in the continuum of care.
- Providers described several constraints when serving communities of color:
- Structural barriers such as poverty, racism, and differential access, which significantly impede meeting clients’ social and economic needs.
- Challenges maintaining program staff with the appropriate language and cultural skills.
- A complex patchwork of funding streams.
- A lack of data and limited internal capacity for data analysis and program evaluation.
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