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Substance Use Among Hispanics Below U.S. Average

But alcohol treatment needs somewhat higher than national average for Hispanic-Americans

THURSDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol and illicit drug use is lower among Hispanic-Americans than the national average; nonetheless, their treatment needs for alcohol are slightly higher than the national average, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"Substance Use Among Hispanic Adults" includes 2004 to 2008 data from the survey responses of 227,791 adults, of whom 31,848 identified themselves as Hispanic-Americans. The report was developed to inform policy makers and service providers about substance abuse and treatment needs within this minority group.

The survey revealed that 46.1 percent of Hispanic-Americans report current alcohol use, 6.6 percent report current illicit drug use, and 26.3 percent report current binge drinking. Those figures compare to national averages of 55.2, 7.9, and 24.5 percent, respectively. In the past year, 8.7 percent required treatment for alcohol use, compared with the national average of 8.1 percent; about 7.9 percent received treatment in a special facility, compared with the national average of 8.2 percent. The study also found significantly different rates of substance use among different Hispanic-American populations and that U.S.-born Hispanic Americans have substantially higher substance use rates than their foreign-born counterparts.

"Hispanic-Americans are one of the fastest growing communities in our country and include a vast array of diverse populations -- each with a unique set of behavioral health strengths, challenges and needs," SAMHSA administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a statement. "This study and others indicate that, as ethnic and immigrant populations become more acculturated into our national culture, they tend to develop many of the same behavioral health challenges faced by the general population. Through a more detailed understanding of this diverse community we can better tailor our prevention and treatment strategies to reach all of its members."

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