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Meeting Substance Use and Social Service Needs in Communities of Color

Publication Date
Juliet Bui, Annette Waters, Robin Ghertner, Eva H. Allen, Lisa Clemans-Cope, Kima Joy Taylor, and Christal Ramos

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.
Product Type
Research Brief
Children | Black & African American People | American Indian & Alaska Native People (AI-AN) | Asian American & Pacific Islanders People (AAPI) | Hispanic, Latino, Latina, & Latinx People | Racial & Ethnic Groups | Immigrants & Refugees | Underserved Populations
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG)