Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Firewater? Really?

It's always important to examine prejudices to see if there's any truth to them, or if it's just mean-spirited people spreading rumors. Like the idea of Indians and their firewater. Let's face it, that assertion in this day and age is just naked bigotry.

So the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services keeps records on this sort of thing. Actually, their subdivision, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) tracks it, and then releases their data. According to a survey the released in June, American Indians and Alaska Natives had a lower rate of alcohol usage than the national average. Mind you, that's past month alcohol usage.

It's a mixed result. Although the past month usage is lower than the national average, the rate of binge alcohol and illicit drug use is higher than the national average, with one in eight American Indian or Alaska Native adults seeking treatment at a speciality facility for alcohol or drug use. Make of that what you will.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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