Effects of Racism on Addiction

Effects of Racism on AddictionRacism has many damaging effects on society and individuals. Not the least of these is its tendency to result in drug abuse and other detrimental behaviors that can fuel further racism. Californians should be sure to consider this relationship as they interact with fellow residents.

How Does Racism Impact Drug Use?

Addiction affects people regardless of race, age, or socioeconomic status, but racism does fuel addiction and its role should not to be ignored. Studies have shown a link between racism and substance abuse. Perceived racism can lead to depression and mental health disorders, which can in turn lead to drug abuse and addiction.

This development of mental health problems is more frequent among children and adolescents who experience racism. Californians should remember that racism can harm the mental health of young people, especially those who already experience emotional problems and problems at home. Individuals who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of an assault or other experience related to racism may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of easing the resulting emotional pain.

What Are the Statistics?

According to an NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) report on drug use among racial and ethnic minorities, the prevalence estimates for recent illegal drug use are roughly equivalent for non-Hispanic African-Americans and Whites.

According to the same study, illegal drug use and trafficking are still a major problem in U.S. African American communities. Incarcerations and lifelong penalties resulting from a conviction relating to drug abuse fall heavily on minorities, leading to increased discrimination. Disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates of minorities reflect discrimination of communities of color by law enforcement, despite the fact that white people are more likely than African-Americans to use and deal illegal drugs. The unfortunate reality is that many Californians fear discrimination and are thus discouraged from receiving treatment.

One of the factors behind discrimination is the prevalence of health problems resulting from substance abuse among minorities. Drug treatment programs with a large number of admissions based on court referrals may also be contributing data that inadvertently fuels stereotypes.

According to a study published in the May Journal of Public Health involving 5,000 children, prejudice was reported by 20 percent of blacks, 15 percent of Hispanics, 16 percent in the “other” category, and 7 percent of whites. The study showed the correlation of discrimination and mental health issues, which often result in co-occurring drug addiction.

Recovery Options

Treatment programs strive to be culturally competent, creating the best possible recovery environment for individuals of every race and background. With the growing problem of drug abuse, awareness for the issues relating to treatment and the importance of individualized care have sparked much improvement and expansion among healthcare resources that Californians can look into. There are laws regarding treatment that protects individuals from discrimination based on race/ethnicity, age, gender, and disabilities.

Help for Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one in California is struggling with an addiction and is ready to commit to a treatment program, call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions counselors will help you find a treatment program that works for you. Don’t be afraid to find the help you deserve. Call today.

Leave a Reply