Native Americans and Ritalin Use

Native Americans and Ritalin UseRitalin is a stimulant prescribed to treat disorders associated with hyperactivity and impulse control. Ritalin works on the central nervous system and is primarily prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.  This prescription drug is widely abused among high school and college students wanting to improve their energy levels and concentration, individuals with demanding jobs, and persons wanting to curb their appetite and increase their energy in order to lose weight.

Ritalin and stimulant abuse has become an epidemic in the U.S., and it affects individuals from all walks of life. The National Study on Drug Use and Health released a report stating that out of 15 commonly prescribed stimulants, Ritalin is the third most abused. According to the study, Caucasians had the highest rates of stimulant abuse, followed closely by Native Americans.

Facts about Native American Drug Use

Alcohol abuse has been prevalent within Native American population for decades, but it appears that use rates of other drugs have increased significantly. Native American communities struggle with high alcohol use rates, illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse rates.

In 2011, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that Native American adolescents (ages 12-17) had higher rates of cigarette, marijuana, and non-medical use of prescription drugs compared to the national average of this age group.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also found that American Indians and Alaska Natives have higher rates of illicit drug use than any other major racial/ethnic group in the U.S. at nearly 10 percent of the population. Furthermore, Native Americans now have the highest meth usage rates of any ethnic group in the U.S. Methamphetamine is a highly-addictive stimulant, and its heavy abuse rates are linked to Ritalin and other prescription stimulants.

Why Ritalin and Stimulant Abuse is Rising among Native Americans

One reason why drug and alcohol abuse rates among Native American communities are so strikingly high is because of the short supply of treatment and recovery resources for this ethnic group. Native Americans are a demographic faced with extreme disparities. This ethnic group experiences high rates of disease, unemployment, poverty, lack of health care, poor education systems and high rates of death.

Without the resources, knowledge and support available to treat issues from chronic pain to depression, Native Americans are at a disadvantage. Lacking health care services or health insurance, Native Americans are more likely to self-medicate both physical and psychological illnesses and issues with substances. From prescription drugs to illicit drugs like methamphetamine, Native Americans may feel they have no other choice than to seek the aid from these substances. Addiction education, prevention and treatment resources are scarce in Native American communities, which contributes to a cycle of drug misuse/abuse and addiction from generation to generation.

Help Available for Native Americans Struggling with Addiction

Native Americans and other ethnic groups can find treatment and recovery services across the country that specialize in their unique, addiction-related issues. If you would like to talk a professional about addiction treatment options, please call our toll-free helpline. Our trained addiction counselors are on-hand 24 hours a day to help find and connect you with the treatment programs and services that will work for you. Whether you have questions and concerns, need information, or are ready to find treatment today, we can help.