Substance Use in the African American Community


February is Nationwide African American Historical past Month, additionally referred to as Black Historical past Month. It’s a time to replicate on the superb achievements of African People and to look ahead as we try towards racial equality in all areas of private and non-private life. This includes contemplating troublesome points, together with substance use.

As with all individuals teams, African People can expertise substance use issues and may obtain therapy to assist overcome habit. Nevertheless, there are some cultural elements we should always perceive that result in variations in substance use dysfunction between racial teams. Lastly, we should always have fun the devoted professionals who’re making nice strides in furthering analysis and restoration providers for African People experiencing substance use issues (SUDs).

African American Substance Use Statistics

African People usually expertise lower rates of binge drinking than different ethnic teams within the U.S. and are less likely to develop an alcohol dependency of their lifetime. Nevertheless, for African People who do expertise an alcohol habit, recurrent or persistent dependence may be extra prevalent than for different racial teams.

African American drug use statistics reveal extra variations between racial teams in terms of substance use. Whereas total charges of substance use and illicit drug use are comparable throughout ethnic traces, statistics do reveal some marked variations between white individuals’s vs. Black individuals’s drug use and a few developments we should always concentrate on. A few of these variations embody:

  • Mostly used medication: One distinction we are able to see between racial teams is which medication are typically circulated and used essentially the most. Marijuana is the most commonly used substance amongst African People, and this charge of marijuana utilization is increased than the speed for the overall inhabitants. The second most typical class of medicine is psychotherapeutic medication, adopted by cocaine and hallucinogens. Crack cocaine is understood for affecting Black communities disproportionately.
  • Drug overdose deaths: A distinction to notice among the many Black inhabitants is a rising charge of drug overdose deaths. Between 2015 and 2016, the speed of overdose deaths grew by 21% across the overall population, nevertheless it elevated by 40% amongst African People. This progress charge exceeded all different racial teams. From 2014-2017, loss of life charges from artificial opioid use elevated by 818% amongst African People, which was a better enhance than for some other racial group.

african american culture and substance use

African American Tradition and Substance Use

Regardless of the best way substance use issues have an effect on all racial teams, the chance elements that contribute to SUDs can differ relying on racial identification. African People usually tend to expertise circumstances like poverty, incarceration and homelessness, which are all risk factors for psychological well being points and substance use issues.

The ripple impact of SUDs may look totally different throughout cultures and communities. Wanting traditionally at African American tradition and substance use, we see that the crack epidemic within the early Eighties had an enduring impact on African American communities — significantly these in internal cities the place crack addictions, deaths and crimes had been most prevalent. This epidemic additionally ushered within the “Battle on Medication,” which centered closely on medication within the Black group.

As the federal government tried to resolve the drug downside, legislation enforcement arrested a lot of small-time drug sellers, who tended to be impoverished younger black males, and their prospects. On account of these arrests, the jail inhabitants grew considerably and by 1995, nearly 1 in 3 African American males of their 20’s was incarcerated, on probation or on parole.

Immediately, although total charges of substance use dysfunction look comparable throughout racial populations, African People are arrested for drug-related offenses at disproportionate charges. In 2000, the speed of imprisonment for drug-related crimes was 15 times higher for Black people than for white people. By 2016, that disparity had shrunk dramatically however nonetheless continued. The imprisonment charges had been nonetheless 5 instances increased for Black individuals than white individuals.

This historical past of being overrepresented in experiencing legal penalties for medication has possible led to totally different cultural sensitivities and fears surrounding SUDs. Black communities could also be extra predisposed to distrust government-led packages geared toward addressing substance use and could also be extra reticent to achieve out for therapy due to social stigma or fears.

The obstacles to in search of and receiving high quality therapy for an SUD can differ between racial teams. For many Black Americans, problems with poverty, a scarcity of medical health insurance, restricted entry to transportation, untreated psychological well being issues and different issues could make it tougher to obtain the assistance wanted to recuperate from an habit.

Leaders in African American Substance Use Analysis and Restoration

All through historical past, African People have performed a job in furthering analysis on substance use and serving to communities of all races and backgrounds fight problems with habit. Frederick Douglass, a outstanding abolitionist whose February birthday helped decide the timing of Black Historical past Month, was a member of the 19th-century temperance movement, which emphasised sobriety. Douglass believed alcohol produced its personal type of enslavement.

Over the centuries, many African People have furthered causes associated to habit restoration and sobriety. Amongst researchers and well being care and counseling professionals, President Barack Obama enacted a drug coverage to handle most of the substance use penalties and obstacles to habit therapy that influence the African American group. Examples of this policy’s goals included:

  • Emphasizing the prevention of drug use over incarceration
  • Increasing entry to habit therapy
  • Measures to assist break the cycle of drug use, crime, arrest and incarceration

Additional, the Nationwide Institute of Well being acknowledges that habit and different well being points don’t have an effect on all communities in the identical means, which is why the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) was fashioned. The NIMHD conducts scientific analysis that’s centered on enhancing minority well being and minimizing well being disparities.

Make This Month the Begin of Your Restoration Journey

In the event you or a beloved one is affected by a substance use dysfunction, there’s no have to wrestle in silence. At Gateway Basis, we offer restoration providers that empower purchasers to soundly transition to a more healthy life-style. For greater than half a century, Gateway Basis has been offering evidence-based care to purchasers of all walks of life within the Illinois space.

By providing outpatient treatment along with residential programs, we may help you discover the allow you to want that may match into your schedule. We perceive that restoration is a protracted highway. That’s why we offer the continued assist you might want to keep the course long-term. In the event you’re prepared to start your journey to restoration, get in touch with Gateway Basis on-line or by calling 877-381-6538.


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