Do African Americans Drink Less?

by Leah on February 25, 2010

AfricanamericandrinkingDo African American adults drink less than people of other ethnic backgrounds? A fascinating new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), says yes. Over 25,000 African American adults participated in the survey on drug use and health.

The current alcohol use rate for African Americans aged 18 and older is significantly lower than the national adult average (44.3 percent versus 55.2 percent) according to the new study. The study also reveals that African American adults have a lower rate of binge drinking than the national adult average (21.7 percent versus 24.5 percent). Young African American adults (aged 18 -25) are less likely to engage in binge drinking than young adults in the general population (25.3 percent versus 41.6 percent).

One notable exception to the generally lower levels of alcohol use among African American adults:  the rate of binge drinking among pregnant women aged 18 to 44, which is higher than the national average for pregnant women in the age group (8.1 percent versus 3.6 percent).

At the same time the study reveals that African American adults have a higher rate of illicit drug use than the national average (9.5 percent versus 7.9 percent). The difference in rates of current illicit drug use tends to be more pronounced among African American males aged 26 and older.

To read more about the topic, Chaney Allen’s I’m Black and I’m Sober is a classic on an African American woman’s experience of alcoholism. Anyone else know any great books (fiction, nonfiction or memoir?) that touch on the subject of African Americans and drinking?

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