In the United States, race is defined as “the classification of humans into groups on the basis of physical characteristics.” There are four main racial categories in the U.S.:
- Black or African American
- Native American or Alaska Native.
There are also many other subcategories within these main categories.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), drug use varies by race. The NSDUH is a large yearly survey that asks people about their drug use habits. The survey includes questions about illegal drug use, as well as legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.
Although the opioid epidemic was initially most visible among non-Hispanic Whites, opioid use and overdose rates among other racial/ethnic groups (such as Blacks and Hispanics) have risen in recent years.
These racial/ethnic minorities have worse treatment experiences and outcomes in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment than non-Hispanic Whites. For example, racial/ethnic minorities are likely to enter treatment later in their addiction process and are less likely to complete treatment.
Additionally, in an analysis of the 72,242 individuals in the Treatment Episode Datasets-Discharge (TEDS-D) dataset, Blacks were less likely to reduce substance use than non-Hispanic Whites after treatment.
Factors That Contribute to Substance Abuse
The factors that contribute to substance abuse are many and varied. They can be biological, psychological, or social. Some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others, but anyone can develop a substance use disorder.
Biological factors that may contribute to addiction include:
- A family history of addiction
- Changes in the brain caused by drug use
- Certain mental disorders
Psychological factors that may contribute to addiction include:
- Poor coping skills
Social factors that may contribute to addiction include:
- Peer pressure
- Access to drugs
- Family dysfunction
- Lack of social support
Cultural Taboos of Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery
The cultural taboos of drug addiction and recovery can make it difficult for people of color to seek help for substance abuse. The stigma surrounding addiction can prevent people of color from seeking treatment and support, which can lead to continued drug use and further negative consequences.
There are many reasons why people of color may be reluctant to seek help for substance abuse, including:
- Fear of judgment or discrimination
- Lack of trust in the healthcare system
- Feel like they don’t belong in traditional treatment settings
- Language barriers
- A lack of understanding about addiction can all make it difficult for people of color to seek out the help they need
It is important to remember that anyone can develop a substance use disorder, regardless of race. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, there is help available. Treatment centers that specialize in helping people of color overcome substance abuse can provide the culturally-sensitive care you need to heal.
How Mental Health Affects Different Races
There are a number of factors that can contribute to mental health disparities among different racial groups. For example, people of color are more likely to live in poverty than those who identify as white.
Annual prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults, by demographic group:
- Non-Hispanic Asian: 13.9%
- Non-Hispanic White: 22.6%
- Non-Hispanic Black or African-American: 17.3%
- Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native: 18.7%
- Non-Hispanic Mixed/Multiracial: 35.8%
- Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 16.6%
- Hispanic or Latino: 18.4%
- Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual: 47.4%
Poverty has been linked to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. In addition, people of color are more likely to experience discrimination and racism, which can also lead to mental health issues.
Despite the challenges, many programs and organizations provide mental health services specifically for people of color. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Treatment providers who understand the unique needs of people of color can offer the culturally-sensitive care you need to heal.
What Are the Challenges Certain Races Experience?
The challenges certain races experience with drug addiction are unique and require specialized care. Often, drug addiction among people of color is due to socioeconomic factors such as poverty and racism. Treatment centers that understand these issues can provide the best possible care for those struggling with drug addiction.
Treatment centers that specialize in helping people of color overcome their addiction can provide the best possible care. Remember, anyone can develop a substance use disorder, regardless of race. With the right treatment, recovery is possible.
There are many reasons why people of color may be more likely to struggle with drug addiction. Poverty, racism, and trauma can all lead to increased stress levels and a greater likelihood of drug use. People of color may also have less access to quality healthcare and addiction treatment.
Poverty is one of the main factors that can lead to drug abuse. People who live in poverty may turn to drugs as a way to cope with their difficult circumstances. They may also have less access to quality healthcare and addiction treatment.
Racism is another factor that can affect drug use by race. Racism can lead to increased stress levels and a greater likelihood of drug use. People of color may also have less access to quality healthcare and addiction treatment.
Trauma is another factor that can lead to drug abuse. Trauma can include things like violence, abuse, or neglect. People who have experienced trauma are more likely to turn to drugs as a way to cope with their pain.
The different forms of trauma include:
- Emotional: witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event
- Physical: being physically harmed or threatened
- Sexual: being sexually abused or assaulted
- Psychological: degraded, humiliated, or terrorized
How Does Immigration Impact Drug Use by Race?
Immigrating to a new country can be a stressful experience. People who are immigrants or come from immigrant families may be more likely to turn to drugs as a way to cope with the stress of their lives. They may also have less access to quality healthcare and addiction treatment.
Discrimination is another factor that can lead to drug abuse. Discrimination can include things like:
- Homophobia or transphobia.
People who experience discrimination are more likely to turn to drugs as a way to cope with the pain and stress of their lives.
How Can Access to Treatment Help Drug Use by Race?
There are a number of ways that access to treatment can help drug use by race. One way is by providing quality addiction treatment that is culturally competent. This means that the treatment is designed to meet the specific needs of the people who will be using it. It takes into account their culture, background, and experiences.
Another way that access to treatment can help drug use by race is by providing financial assistance for treatment. This can help people who wouldn’t be able to afford treatment otherwise get the help they need.
A third way that access to treatment can help drug use by race is by providing resources and support for family members and loved ones. This can help them understand addiction and how to best support their loved ones through treatment and recovery.
Black and Brown communities have been made vulnerable:
- To disease
- Psychological stressors
- Unhealthy behavior due to the unequal distribution of resources
This unequal distribution is evident in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment as racism at varying levels in the system has led minoritized groups to be historically and systematically excluded from access to treatment.
Westwind Recovery® Can Guide You Towards a New Beginning
Westwind Recovery® is a leading provider of addiction treatment services. We offer a variety of programs and services that can help you or your loved one overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you or your loved one get on the road to recovery.
This was a detailed explanation of how access to treatment can help drug use by race. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, contact Westwind Recovery® today to learn more about our programs and how we can help.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.