Substance Abuse in Different Races

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Have you ever wondered what types of drugs are common between races? Sociologist Collect data through surveys and test to figure out what type of drugs are used among different races and ethnicities. Substance abuse causes millions of illnesses and injuries among people who decide to use drugs.

According to data collected African American teens are arrested at a rate 10 times more than of Caucasian teens. Research has also found that caucasians are more likely to develop substance abuse disorders over African Americans.

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The National Survey on Drug Use and Health interviewed 72,561 teens and found that between ages 12-17 37% have used alcohol or drugs in the past year. Also almost 8% of those 72,561 teens ethier have substance abuse or substance addiction problems. Native americans teens have the highest percentage out of all the races with substance abuse being at 15% of the youth meeting criteria. That 15% is compared with 9.2% of the Mixed race, 9.0% of Caucasians, 7.7% of Hispanics, 5% of African Americans, and last 3.5% of Asians. Native Americans are known to be at high risk for alcoholism and they are known for having higher rates of Marijuana and prescription Opioid problems. 8% is the rate of substance abuse in teenage years but according to data collected these rates dropped to 2% for people over the age of 26. Researchers have said that the treatment path they need to take to help these people needs to be culture sensitive if it helps resolve the drug problems. ( Maia Szalavitz)

The 2003 National Survey on Drugs recorded data stating 38.2% of white people aged from 18 to 25 in the U.S. reported any type of drug use in the past year. That is compared to only 30.6% of African Americans and 27.5% of hispanics reporting any type of drug use. The NSDUH also shows that Hispanic women have the highest use percentage of Marijuana (39.9%), Cocaine (4.4%), and Inhalants (1.5%). Hispanic men have the highest percentage of Marijuana (45.6%), Cocaine (6.5%), and Crystal Meth (0.4%) use. Caucasian women have the highest percentage of drug use with LSD (0.5%), Ecstasy (1.9%), and Heroin (0.2%). Also Caucasian men have the highest percentage of drug use with LSD (1.8%), Crystal Meth (0.4%), Inhalants (2.5%), and Heroin (0.3%). Asian and African American women/men still have people of their population using these drugs but at much smaller percentages. Overall Hispanic college students have tested to have the highest rates of drug related problems over the other races. (Sean Esteban McCabe)

Asian Americans and pacific islanders often abuse substances at higher rates than other racial groups. This is a result of many of this race living on islands where there is not much care available for those who are depressed. Stimulant drugs are a lot more common with Asian American and pacific islanders than they are with other ethnic groups. Another reason for stimulates been common with in their group is because they’re also very affordable and easy to get a hold of. In 2010 17. 1% of Native Americans had drug induced deaths which is the highest rate among any other race. The Native Americans that usually have trouble with thousands of abuse often have lost connection with the culture and heritage those who stay close to the their cultural values often have almost no difficulties which substances. Sociologist have studied that discrimination has played a role in substance abuse with the black race. A study by Purdue University has concluded that 90% of people surveyed have said they experience daily discrimination. People being discriminated within society might feel that there is no way they can improve their standings so they look to substances as a part of their life. Hispanics who have immigrated to the US often have much stress on them conforming to a new society in result of this increased drug rates among immigrants have occurred. (Jim Winters)

There are almost 44.5 million African-Americans in the United States and almost 3.8% ages 18 and older have reported a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Native Americans in United States often experience some of the highest percentages of mental disorders and substance use compared to the other racial groups. The national average for Hispanic drug use was 10.2% while only 8.9% reporting drug use. 5.6% of Hispanics have reported a major stage of depression. Out of the 18.2 million Asian Americans in the US only for 3.1% have used illegal drugs.(Ann Lynsen)

Overall among all races opioids are the leading cause of death. Heroine, Fentanyl, Synthetic Opioids, and also Prescription Opioids are all playing a role in the opioid crisis. Caucasians are overdosing at a rate 50% higher than African-Americans and also 167% higher than Hispanics. Another way people can die from drug overdose as when they mix certain drugs together. The drug overdose epidemic is slowly getting worse every year with more and more people dying. (“”White Overdose Deaths 50% Higher than Blacks, 167% Higher than Hispanics.)

In conclusion studies and experiments done by various Sociologist can tell what races struggle with what drugs. Sociologists are always looking for why certain races are using certain types of drugs at a higher rate than other races. As a result of all the experiment done native Americans have the highest overall rate of drug use in United States.

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Substance Abuse in Different Races. (2019, Feb 03). Retrieved from