The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report: Substance Use among Black Adults

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

This new national survey shows that alcohol use and abuse by African-American adults is below national averages and the rates among young African-Americans are significantly lower than the overall population.

The survey found that African-Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 had consumed alcohol in the previous month at a rate of 48.6 percent, compared with 61.1 percent of all 18- to 25-year-olds. This same group of young black adults reported a 25.3 percent rate of binge alcohol use in the previous month, while the national average for this age group was 41.6 percent.

Based on a survey of more than 200,000 people 18 and older between 2004 and 2008 – nearly 26,000 of them African-Americans – this report also states that 44.3 percent of all African-American adults drank alcohol in the previous month, compared with 55.2 percent of the overall population, and that binge alcohol rates – 21.7 percent versus 24.5 percent – were also lower for African-American adults. Among all African-American adults, previous-month illicit drug use was at 9.5 percent, higher than the 7.9 percent national average, although in the 18- to 25-year-old group, 18.7 percent of blacks reported past-month drug use, compared with a 19.7 percent national average.

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