Published On: Mon, Nov 14th, 2011

American Indian teens have highest rates of drug, alcohol abuse

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

                American Indian teens abuse drugs and alcohol at higher rates than other ethnic groups according to a recent study. 

                The study, conducted at Duke University, is published in November’s Archives of General Psychiatry.  It reveals that 37 percent of American Indian teens report alcohol use in the previous year compared to 35.3 percent of white, 32.2 percent of Hispanics, 24.8 percent of African Americans and 18.9 percent of Asians. 

                The disparity was even greater for drug use in the previous year with 31 percent of American Indian teens reporting usage compared with 20 percent of whites, 18 percent for both African American and Hispanic teens and 11.7 percent of Asians. 

                “This is a road map,” said the senior study author Dan C. Blazer, MD, PhD, of Duke’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  “Substance abuse problems are very difficult to treat when you get into adulthood.  If you really want to reverse the abuse and dependence on these drugs, what you need to do is start early, and focus on trying to get these young people into treatment or catch them earlier and stop them from even starting.”

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