Minorities Less Likely To Be Prescribed With Painkillers

CHICAGO (AP) -- A new study finds that emergency room doctors are prescribing strong narcotics more often to patients who complain of pain. But minorities are less likely to get them than whites.

Even for the severe pain of kidney stones, minorities were prescribed narcotics such as oxycodone and morphine less frequently than whites.

The analysis of more than 150,000 emergency room visits over 13 years finds differences in prescribing by race in both urban and rural hospitals.

The findings apply to all U.S. regions and for every type of pain.

The study appears in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study's co-author Doctor Mark Pletcher says the gap between whites and minorities has not closed at all.

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