Alcohol Consumption Amongst African Americans Remains Low While Illicit Drug Use Rises

Blacks consume less alcohol in comparison to their abundant use of illegal drugs.

By: Taren Vaughan

Drug use and alcohol consumption are two issues that health care professionals examine on a frequent basis. They affect the lives of millions of people in the United States. Although African Americans do not contribute to the overall percentage of alcohol consumption in our country, illegal drug usage continues to increase.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy were very popular and still remain that way today. As far as alcohol is concerned, we have gotten more creative in the ways in which we consume it; this is where activities like binge drinking came into play. Fortunately for us, excessive consumption of alcohol has not been a huge problem for us.

According to SAMHSA, the rate at which we consume alcohol is not as bad as one would assume. SAMHSA surveys reveal that African Americans that are 18 years of age or older have an alcohol use rate that is lower than the national adult average which is 55.2 percent; blacks are at 44.3 percent. African Americans also do not participate in binge drinking in relation to other races in the U.S..

The alcohol consumption rates among African Americans may not be considerably high in comparison to how much we as a nation drink but the illicit drug use rates are. Our illicit drug use rate surpasses the national average of 7.9 percent; African Americans are at 9.5 percent. Of this percentage, black men make up the majority of the illicit drug users and are typically 26 years of age or older.

The use of illicit drugs and the consumption of alcohol over an extended period of time can be very taxing on our bodies. It can affect various organs including the liver, lungs, heart, brain, etc. and can have a heavy impact on a person’s quality of life. At the times it may seem harmless to engage in these activities every now and then but some people turn that every now and then into once a week to once a day. This is the point where they could begin to develop a habit that can be very hard to break. It was estimated that 1.1 million African Americans had to undergo drug rehabilitation last year.

We never think it will get to the point where we have to seek help to stop our abuse of alcohol and drugs but it could happen to anyone. It is important to be mindful of the things that we put into our bodies because they can cause serious, sometimes life threatening, complications.


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