Community-based Programs to Address Problematic Substance Use in the Black Community: A Scoping Literature Review

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Submission Summary


In recent years, Black Americans in urban areas have seen a disproportionate rise in opioid drug death rates, with the largest increase from synthetic opioids. As the opioid crisis continues to devastate Black communities, there is an urgent need to tailor strategies, interventions, treatment, and recovery services to fully address the needs of Black communities. The aim of this ongoing scoping literature review is to evaluate literature examining various community-based programs that target problematic substance use in the Black community. 


The scope for this review is limited to literature published within the past 10 years and excluding programs for legal drugs (such as tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana.) Search terms focus on key terms such as "culturally tailored," "community-based," "substance use prevention," and "black population." Articles are being pulled from PubMed, SocIndex, and PsychInfo. Programs of interest include those that focus on prevention, treatment, or recovery services, and address any level of the social ecological model. Literature on social determinants of health and community level influences will also be included. 


9,476 articles were pulled for further review. Thus far, around 50 articles have been selected for further analysis. Preliminary results are providing insight into the work that has already been initiated to address problematic substance use in these communities, as well as highlighting gaps and areas to consider for future interventions. Strategies to reduce problematic use include increasing the accessibility and availability of substance use disorder treatment and naloxone, as well as enacting more harm reduction programs, such as syringe exchange programs, overdose education programs, and fentanyl testing strips. Nevertheless, literature on community based interventions appears to be limited in the preliminary analysis completed thus far. 


This ongoing scoping review is providing novel insights into available literature on community-based programs to reduce problematic substance use in Black communities. While certain community-based strategies have emerged, several gaps in intervention program development and implementation are being identified. In addition, we identified a need for culturally responsive programs that could increase the impact of interventions. 

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Research Intern
University of Houston

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