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BIPOC Community and Addiction

The link between the BIPOC community and addiction is similar to that of other communities of people and addiction. Substance abuse can affect anyone from any walk of life. This includes the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. These minority groups often have similar rates of people struggling with substance abuse. Many times, they need extra care and support to overcome. However, the rates of people in BIPOC communities receiving addiction help are lower than people of caucasian descent.

Defining BIPOC

The BIPOC community faces a unique set of struggles when it comes to addiction. These individuals often face socioeconomic struggles contributing to substance abuse. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and these minority groups struggle with addiction just as any other community does. Contributing factors to the BIPOC community and addiction struggles include socioeconomic struggles, cultural differences, racism, and structural violence against these minority groups.

Minority Stress and Addiction

The media portrays the BIPOC community and addiction rates as being greater than other races. However, it is largely believed that substance abuse problems occur equally throughout all the races in the world. No one race is considered to be more susceptible to developing addiction than anyone. The outcomes of addiction treatment, however, are worse within the BIPOC community. 

The stressors this community faces can contribute largely to potential substance abuse issues. This can include the cultural differences within these minority groups. These differences contribute to discrimination, prejudice, and social stigma which contributes to isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression within these groups. Things like anxiety and depression can lead to coping by using drugs and alcohol.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a 2021 survey shows that approximately 17% of African Americans struggle with substance abuse, which is a similar rate to their caucasian counterparts. However, illicit drug use in the African American community is at approximately 24% while non-Hispanic white people is at around 22%. This is largely in part due to these cultural differences, discrimination, and social stigmas. 

Barriers to Treatment

When it comes to the BIPOC community and addiction treatment, the outcomes of these people receiving proper care are lower. This can be due to a number of factors. Some of these factors can include a lack of support systems. When someone gets help for addiction, it is crucial to have a positive support system to maintain recovery.

There is also the social stigma surrounding asking for and receiving help. While people from all walks of life face this struggle, the stigma surrounding the BIPOC community and addiction can be different. Many of those within this community come from cultural backgrounds where asking for and receiving help is so greatly looked down on, that many never bother to go that route.

Other barriers to treatment can include lack of means, such as having no insurance, accessibility to treatment, cost, and social standards. Many people in the BIPOC community don’t feel like treatment will help. Which is a false narrative.

Risk Factors for BIPOC Addiction

The struggles faced by the BIPOC community can contribute to the susceptibility to developing addictions. Being a part of the BIPOC community and addiction struggles to become prevalent can result from socio-economic disparities, systematic racism, and limited access to healthcare. These factors contribute to higher stress levels and reduced opportunities for people within the BIPOC community. The stressors above often lead to these individuals turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping and self-medication.

Help for those within the BIPOC community and addiction treatment being received requires a multi-faceted approach that considers these factors and addresses them.


Addiction is just as prevalent within the BIPOC community, and addiction treatment is a vital part of overcoming it. Treatment is available to people from all races and walks of life. It is a safe and healing place for people to begin regaining control of their life back, as well as healing from the traumas of addiction.

Detoxification can help these individuals remove the substances from their bodies and then begin to undergo crucial and necessary therapies. These therapies help individuals who struggle with drugs and alcohol to learn positive and productive coping skills. These skills help the individuals to maintain their recovery and prevent relapse.

Having the proper support and care when it comes to addiction treatment is crucial. Learning the necessary coping and life skills prevents further complications later down the road. 

Help for Addiction

BIPOC communities are at risk when it comes to substance abuse and addiction and their outcomes in treatment can be worse. Substance abuse and addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or religion. Most people need help to stop using drugs and alcohol, and BIPOC communities are no different.

If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. At Louisville Addiction Center we offer a safe and healing environment for people from all walks of life to begin the process of healing and gaining control of their life back.

Contact us today and start receiving much-needed support to get clean and sober.

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