Black Adults' Alcohol Use Low, Drug Use High
Newswise — The current alcohol use rate for blacks aged 18 and older is significantly lower than the national adult average (44.3 percent versus 55.2 percent) according to a new study based on a national survey. The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also reveals that black adults have a lower rate of current binge drinking than the national adult average (21.7 percent versus 24.5 percent). Young black adults (aged 18 -25) are markedly less likely to be currently engaged in binge drinking than young adults in the general population (25.3 percent versus 41.6 percent).
One notable exception to the generally lower levels of alcohol use among black adults is the rate of current binge drinking among pregnant black women aged 18 to 44 which is higher than the national average for pregnant women in the age group (8.1 percent versus 3.6 percent).
At the same time the study reveals that black adults have a higher rate of current illicit drug use than the national average (9.5 percent versus 7.9 percent). The difference in rates of current illicit drug use between black adults and the national average tends to be more pronounced among male adults aged 26 and older. For example, 14.7 percent of black adults aged 26 to 49 currently use illicit drugs as opposed to 11.2 percent of the general adult population in that age group.
“This study provides important insight into the differences affecting various populations across our country,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “As a nation we must strive to reach out to every part of our population and provide services that are best tailored to effectively promote the benefits of prevention, treatment and good health.”
Among the other noteworthy findings in the report – an estimated 1.1 million black adults (4.4 percent) were classified in the survey as needing treatment for an illicit drug use problem in the past year – higher than the national average of 2.9 percent. Almost one quarter (24.2 percent) of black adults in need of treatment received it at a specialty facility – significantly higher than the national average of 19.2 percent.
This study is part of a series of reports examining substance use patterns among different ethnic, racial and demographic groups in America. The studies are designed to provide data that will help public health experts, service providers and communities better understand and address the issues affecting various segments of the population.
The report, Substance Use among Black Adults is based on data collected during 2004 to 2008 from a nationally representative sample of 25,798 black adults who participated in SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The full report is online at:http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/207/SubstanceUseAmongBlacks.cfm. It may also be obtained by calling the SAMHSA Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). For related publications and information, visithttp://www.samhsa.gov/ .
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment and mental health services delivery system.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)