Native Americans and Alcoholism.

Essay by yvonmariaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2003

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Alcohol Abuse and Native Americans:

A Result of Colonialism,

A Call for the Restoration of Justice

Alcoholism is a disease. This disease plagues the Native American population in America to an astonishing degree. "Alcohol affects Native Americans disproportionately; the 1992-1994 age-adjusted alcoholism mortality rate for Native Americans is approximately 6 times the 1993 rate for the US population as a whole" [Frank344] Philip A. May states in his essay "The Epidemiology of Alcohol Abuse": "That alcoholism is the leading health problem among Indians is probably the most popular and common statement about alcohol and Indians that one hears..." [228] As one would expect this is raising concern and interest among researchers, statisticians, anthropologists and sociologists. They are investigating the possible catalysts of this epidemic.

Whenever a non-communicable disease becomes drastically widespread among a population it raises questions among researchers. This issue is compounded by the fact that the Native American population is plagued by numerous alcohol-related problems that are having extreme, adverse effects upon its people.

Looking first at the historical aspects of this problem can lend great insight into understanding how to resolve the issue. Furthermore, researchers strive to calculate the current patterns of alcohol abuse among American Indians, along with the resulting social and psychological problems. Alcoholism among Native Americans mainly afflicts the large proportion of Native American adolescents who drink to excess. Studying teenage alcohol and substance abuse of American Indians can be very useful. The reason for this is that if the causes can be isolated at a young age then perhaps a treatment can be administered to cure this ill that plagues the Native American population. The negative image of their culture that has been, and still is, perpetuated throughout history is only further tarnished by this epidemic.

Prior to colonization by the Europeans, Native...