The Drug and Alcohol Rehab Needs of African-Americans

Of all the racial groups living in the United States, few have been as devastated by drugs and alcohol as African-Americans. The black community in America has, for many decades struggled with issues of addiction complicated by poverty, discrimination and the disintegration of the family structure. The following outlines some of these issues and present information that can help African-Americans of all socio-economic groups get the treatment help they need.

The Challenges of African-American Addiction Treatment

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, crack cocaine reaped a terrible price on the predominantly black urban centers of our country. And although crack impacted the lives of all American-based races, few seemed harder hit that the African-Americans. This occurred because of the extreme poverty and lack of affordable drug treatment in these parts of the United States. This is, in fact, the reason behind a number of drug addiction and alcoholism issues within the black community. Wherever there exists little or no hope for the future, escapism through substance abuse is sure to follow.

What goes on During Drug and Alcohol Rehab for African-Americans?

Understanding what exactly happens during addiction treatment can ease a great deal of the anxiety that many African-American men and women feel about entering into a rehab program. There are all types of programs to meet the needs of these diverse individuals, but most include three core components: detox, therapy and aftercare. Let’s examine each one in greater detail.

  • Alcohol and drug detox. Before an individual can dive into the main segments of addiction treatment, they must first complete detox. Detoxification helps stabilize the individual – as their body readjusts to life without alcohol or drugs. Completing detox represents the overcoming the physical component of addiction.
  • Therapy. Therapy sessions are the real “meat” of addiction treatment. This is where the individual learns about why they use drugs and alcohol – and how they can change their behavior in such a way that leads to prolonged sobriety. See the paragraph below to learn about what makes therapy and counseling for African-Americans unique.
  • Aftercare. Completing an alcohol or drug rehab program is a commendable accomplishment. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are not still hurdles to overcome. Aftercare programs (such as 12-step groups or follow-up counseling) help the individual ease back into their daily routine and learn how to take their recovery a single day at time.

What makes Drug and Alcohol Counseling for African-Americans Unique?

There are a number of challenges facing African-Americans living with addiction that must be addressed during drug rehab counseling and therapy. For example, if the individual comes from a stressful home environment, issues of resentment about one’s parents are a common talking point. Also, if the individual is living in a community that sees treatment as a sign of weakness rather than strength, these misconceptions must be broken down as well. Finally, if the individual is a single parent, fears about losing the children as a result of drug addiction or alcoholism need to be tabled in order for recovery to move forward in some significant way.