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Effects of Racism on Addiction

Effects of Racism on AddictionRacism is a common contributor to substance abuse and addiction. People who struggle with social pressures and are subject to racism often turn to various substances in order to cope. Racial profiling is also a common contributor to high levels of stress and drug use among young minority groups. African American and Latino youth are commonly targeted by gang members and police alike. A majority of these racial groups reside in low income urban areas where drug use is more prevalent. African American and Latino youth in these areas are often targeted by police and subject to various arrests and criminalization. These youth are also targeted by older gang members to join and engage in the selling and abusing of illegal substances. Albuquerque residents should be aware of the following areas where racism leads to addiction frequently:

  • Primarily black or white college campuses
  • A work environment that is primarily one race
  • Other countries where racism is more common
  • Low-income communities
  • Rural white towns
  • Private establishments that are unwilling to serve people of another race
  • Within career or education advancement

Albuquerque residents may not be aware that racism negatively affects young adults more deeply than older individuals. Young adults in college or high school are more prone to participate in acts of racism due to ignorance and adolescence. College campuses are common grounds for racism to flourish due to less adult supervision. A minority group within a college campus is more likely to be subject to racism from peers than other groups. This can lead to frequent abuse of alcohol and marijuana in order to cope. Problems with addiction often go unnoticed among college students. The students are also often afraid to report racist acts for fear of causing more trouble for themselves. These students struggling with addiction are often unwilling to admit that they have a problem or seek treatment. African American males are commonly unwilling to seek and receive addiction help from a society that they have grown to mistrust. Social discrimination and stigmas have taught these people that solving their addiction problems on their own is preferable to seeking help. The attitude of minority groups towards rehab and other treatment facilities has been directly impacted by social racism and profiling. African American males struggling with addiction make up about forty percent of all American inmates within the criminal justice system. Due to racism and racial profiling they are often underrepresented and mistreated within the justice system. Racism in general is one of the most common contributors to substance abuse and being unwilling to seek professional treatment for addiction recovery.

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