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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Research Advances
Volume 11, Number 3
May/June 1996

New NIDA Report Summarizes Data on Drug Use Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities

The latest data on drug use among racial and ethnic minorities residing in the United States are now available in an updated NIDA-published report. The report, Drug Use Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities, presents information about the nature and extent of drug use and its adverse consequences among four major racial/ethnic classifications used by the U.S. Census Bureau: American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and Hispanics.

The report is primarily a sourcebook for policymakers, health planners, and researchers, says Andrea Kopstein of NIDA's Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, who developed and edited the report. It presents summary information from a number of large- and small-scale surveys sponsored by Federal agencies that collect data about drug abuse and related behaviors by race and ethnicity.

The report includes descriptions and definitions of race and ethnicity, racial/ethnic population statistics, and an overview of drug use and drug-related problems among minority populations. It presents and discusses racial and ethnic data on:

  • the general prevalence of drug use;

  • attitudes and perceptions about drug use;

  • the prevalence of drug use among youth and its relationship to high-risk behaviors, including sexual behaviors that place young people at risk for HIV;

  • drug use among women of childbearing age and pregnant women;

  • drug use and crime; and

  • the adverse health consequences of drug use.

The report aims to heighten awareness of major drug abuse issues affecting different racial and ethnic populations that need to be addressed, says Kopstein. For example, the report presents statistics on the proportion of AIDS cases by mode of transmission. African Americans and Hispanics have been particularly hard hit by the AIDS epidemic, especially AIDS transmitted by injecting drug use, Kopstein says.

From NIDA NOTES, May/June, 1996

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