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African American Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

March 5, 2019

Drug and alcohol abuse impacts every race in America, including African Americans. Treating addiction concerns requires understanding what substances may afflict their communities more often, socioeconomic influences that may generate abuse, and even important spiritual concepts. Through this personalized care, individuals are given the best chance at a successful recovery.

African Americans Abuse Alcohol More Often Than Illegal Drugs

The Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration regularly releases a variety of statistics on drug addiction and treatment and found that there were 44.5 million (14.2%) African Americans in the U.S. Among this community, they found drug use statistics contrasted heavily with the national average (in parenthesis):

  • Illegal Drug Use – 12.4% (10.2%)
  • Binge Drinking – 21.6% (23%)
  • Past-Month Alcohol Use – 17.3% (22.8%)
  • Underage Binge Drinking – 8.5% (13.8%)
  • Co-Occurring Disorders – 3.8% (3.3%)
  • Mental Illness – 18.1% (16.3%)

This information allows us to make a few basic conclusions. One, illegal drug use (such as smoking marijuana or using cocaine) was less of a problem for African Americans than alcohol. The reason for this correlation is unclear, but it is an important tool for understanding African American rehab.

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Cultural Aspects To Consider In African American Rehab

Like every race, African Americans have their own unique cultural beliefs that fuel their lives. And these cultural aspects heavily influence their reasons for drug use, as well as the use of specific substances.

In 1992, a study was performed to gauge the factors that influenced African American drug and alcohol abuse. It was primarily focused on understanding the socioeconomic and cultural aspects that may cause African American people to turn to drugs or alcohol. They found that the most common reasons they turned to drugs and alcohol included:

  • Severe poverty
  • Educational problems
  • Lack of suitable health insurance
  • Racial discrimination

Obviously, these problems don’t impact everyone in the African American community. For example, there are plenty of financially successful and highly educated African Americans in the country. But this study found that these problems were still the most common cultural influences on their drug use.

Spiritual Aspects Of African American Rehab

For many people recovering from drug addiction, spirituality is an important guide toward regaining sobriety. It’s no different in the African American population. A large portion of the population identifies as Christian (83%, according to The Leonard T. Greenberg Center For The Study Of Religion In Public Life), breaking down into the following denominations:

  • Baptist – 45%
  • Generic Christian – 15%
  • Methodists – 7%
  • Catholic – 6%
  • Pentecostal – 7%
  • Protestant – 6%
  • Muslim – 1%
  • Other – 1%
  • Atheists Or No Specific Religion – 11%

A successful African American rehabilitation experience will take into account their spiritual beliefs and integrate them in constructive manners. For example, therapy may include reconnecting with the Baptist faith by attending church services on a regular basis. Or it may include utilizing a faith-based treatment method, such as the 12-Step program.

The importance of spirituality in recovery depends on an individual’s faith. Many people find strength in religion and use it as a method of coping and adjusting to cravings and other serious problems facing a person with an addiction. And higher concentrations of Baptists in the African American population is particularly important, as it is a very potent and energetic religion.

Finding An Appropriate Center

While it’s possible you might be able to find a center near you that focuses specifically on African American rehab, it’s more likely you won’t. However, you can still find a center that caters to your needs. Call them up and ask them the following questions:

  • Do you have experience treating African Americans?
  • What spiritual services do you offer?
  • Is your staff experienced working with my specific addiction triggers?
  • Does your center have a positive and person-centered treatment model?

These questions help fine-tune your search and guide you toward a center staffed with understanding, capable and professional experts that will work toward your recovery, regardless of your race.

Learn More Today

If you or someone you know is an African American suffering from drug addiction, you need to find help as soon as possible. Let us be that help. At, we have a dedicated staff that can connect you to a rehab center near you that understands your unique addiction needs. Don’t hesitate to make the call today.

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