5..2 million Americans in the U.S. are Native Americans, less than half of the percentage are living in ancestral lands or reservations while the rest lived outside these lands. Observable trends have been noticed that Native Americans living in reservations are more likely to undergo substance abuse than Native Americans living elsewhere.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by moldresistantstrains.com regarding the use of illegal drugs among races in the U.S. Results from the survey show that Native Americans was the highest among other races such as Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Caucasian Americans, and African Americans. It also showed that 23.5% of Native Americans binge drink while 40.1% Native Americans smoke tobacco.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, substance abuse is linked to the leading causes of deaths among Native Americans. The top causes of deaths among this race are cancer, unintentional injury, heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease. Geographical and social conditions are also factors as to why Native Americans are more likely to obtain chronic diseases and have a lower life expectancy. Reservations or ancestral lands tend to be more isolated and far off, being inaccessible to needs such as education and healthcare compared to the rest of the U.S.
Substance abuse is seen to be higher among the youth sector of this race, most especially children in the 8th grade. Marijuana being easy to grow both indoors and outdoors with just the possession of cannabis seeds can also be a factor as to how it is easy to obtain, use, and get addicted to it. Other substances besides marijuana such as prescription opiates are being consumed by these Native American youths as well. With the trend of substance abuse among youth in school, it is connected to poor performance in school, high dropout rates, violent crime, and suicidal behavior.
Mental health issues are seen to be linked to substance abuse among Native Americans too. Depression and anxiety are some of the most common mental illnesses experienced. The lack of access to mental health services due to its geological isolation is also seen to be a factor as to why suicide is one of the top 10 leading deaths among Native Americans. Another link to addiction is the influence of mainstream American culture into their Native culture which weakens the bond to their cultural roots and traditions.
Being able to cater to the needs of Native Americans, most especially in the sector of education and healthcare, will surely improve the high rate of substance abuse among them. Educating the harmful effects of substances while strengthening their cultural identity and traditions will help reduce the number of youth in participating in substance abuse. Another would be to make healthcare accessible, most especially for mental health, as these will help in the high rate of mental health issues already present in the community. This would help in decreasing the rate of suicide among Native Americans and lessening their chances of becoming too dependent on the said drugs.