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Study: Blacks Drink Less, But More Likely to Use Illicit Drugs

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African-Americans are less likely to drink alcohol than other adults — and have lower rates of binge drinking — but their rate of illicit-drug use is higher, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA survey data shows that 44.3 percent of African-American adults are current drinkers, compared to 55.2 percent overall for U.S. adults. Moreover, the binge-drinking rate among black Americans is 21.7 percent, compared to the national average of 24.5 percent.

African-Americans ages 18-25 also had binge-drinking rates far below the norm — 25.3 percent compared to 41.6 percent.

However, 9.5 percent of black American adults used illicit drugs, compared to the 7.9-percent national average. The rate of binge drinking among pregnant black women also was higher (8.1 percent compared to 3.6 percent).

SAMHSA also estimated that 4.4 percent of African-Americans were in need of addiction treatment, compared to the national average of 2.9 percent.

The data came from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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