Many people in America at some point in their lives experiment with drugs and alcohol. Being at Penn State, a huge party school, there is a lot of alcohol and drugs around us. Most people indulge in binge drinking and drug use during their college days and maybe into their early twenties but then stop when they get a little older. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone and drug and alcohol addiction is a very real demon for countless people. According to this article on usnews.com, “40 million Americans age 12 and over meet the clinical criteria for addiction involving nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs”. I was curious as to if there was any relationship between race/ethnicity and proneness to addiction.
This article on Time explained an observational study conducted by professor of psychiatry at Duke University, Dr. Dan Blazer, regarding what kinds of people are more prone to addiction. The “participants” of this study were 72,561 youth that were interviewed for the National Survey on Drug use and Health. The study considered confounding variables such as socioeconomic status due to the drug abuse tendencies that exist among the poor. The results were as follows: 15% of Native Americans had a substance abuse disorder, as opposed to only 9.2% of people of mixed races/ethnicities, 9.0% for whites, 7.7% for Hispanics, 5% for African Americans, and 3.5% for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
There are not too many other details on how exactly this study was conducted but I think it is safe to say that the Texas Sharpshooter problem does not affect the data of the study since it was observational as opposed to an experimental study.
I was actually somewhat surprised by these results. Of course, the numbers probably are not completely accurate due to some of the participants not being completely honest during their interviews. I am very curious to know what exactly is the reason for those numbers. It would be interesting to see if there is a biological mechanism in Native Americans that make them more susceptible to addiction or if there is an underlying sociological or psychological reason behind it. I would imagine it would be difficult to think of and then conduct a study that could determine this. Regardless, addiction is a serious problem with anyone no matter what race or ethnicity.