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Blacks Less Likely to Abuse Alcohol

But they're more likely to binge drink during pregnancy, researchers find

FRIDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Black adults are less likely to drink alcohol or binge drink than other adults, a federal government study shows.

An analysis of data from 2004 to 2008 found that 44.3 percent of blacks aged 18 and older drink alcohol, compared with that national average of 55.2 percent. The rate of binge drinking among black adults is 21.7 percent, compared with the national average of 24.5 percent. Young black adults (aged 18 to 25) are much less likely to binge drink than young adults in the general population (25.3 percent vs. 41.6 percent), according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study.

However, the rate of binge drinking among pregnant black women aged 18 to 44 is 8.1 percent, compared to the national average of 3.6 percent. The study also found that the rate of illicit drug abuse among black adults is 9.5 percent, while the national average is 7.9 percent. This difference is most pronounced among male adults aged 26 and older. For example, 14.7 percent of black adults aged 26 to 49 use illicit drugs, compared with 11.2 percent of the general population in this age group.

Among the other findings:

  • About 1.1 million black adults (4.4 percent) needed treatment for an illicit drug use problem in the past year, compared with the national average of 2.9 percent.
  • Nearly one-quarter (24.2 percent) of black adults in need of treatment received it at a special facility, compared with the national average of 19.2 percent.

The findings are based on an analysis of data collected in SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers tips on how to reduce your drinking.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, Feb. 25, 2010

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