Native Americans and Lortab Use

Native Americans and Lortab UseLortab is a hydrocodone-based pain medication, and its narcotic nature makes nonmedical use common. Many take the opioid drug to get high or to self-medicate mental health issues. Ongoing Lortab abuse can result in physical and emotional health problems, including addiction and dependence. In the U.S., studies that look at drug use according to ethnic heritage found that Native Americans have the highest rates of opioid painkiller abuse.

Native Americans and Opioid Painkillers

According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly two-thirds of Native Americans aged 12 or older reported illicit drug use in their lifetime, and more than 18 percent reported it in the past 30 days. The report also showed the ethnic differences in current nonmedical prescription drug use, which include the following:

  • 6.2 percent of Native Americans reported nonmedical use, which is the highest of any ethnicity.
  • Mixed race Americans followed with 3.4 percent, and whites ranked third at 3 percent.
  • Native American use is nearly double that of mixed race and whites combined.
  • Past month nonmedical use was 8.5 percent for Native American teens aged 15 to 17.

A 2010 NSDUH report revealed other telling data, including the following:

  • Native Americans have lower past month rates of alcohol use than the national average at 43.9 percent versus 55.2 percent.
  • Native Americans did, however, have higher rates of past month binge drinking (30.6 percent versus 24.5 percent) and illicit drug use (11.2 percent versus 7.9 percent).
  • The percentage of Native Americans needing substance abuse treatment in the past year was nearly double the national average (18 percent versus 9.6 percent).

Among the drugs being used, a NSDUH report from 2007 stated that marijuana and prescription painkillers were the two substances that Native Americans abuse most.

Native American Drug Use Motivations

In 2004, the Psychological Bulletin suggested that forced urbanization and cultural disruption may be motivational factors in Native American substance abuse while the American Journal of Public Health in 2000 documented the influence that European colonial expansion had in Native American alcohol use. Still, there are several other factors that might motivate painkiller abuse, including the following:

  • Suppressed symptoms of an untreated mental health issue
  • Emotional pain related to racism and identity
  • Lack of culturally relevant treatment in the immediate community
  • A substance abuse casino culture for certain reservations
  • Boredom from isolation on a remote reservation

Most Native Americans live in urban areas although there are still large numbers who live on reservations. In 2012, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that rural residents are twice as likely to experience a painkiller overdose and that Native Americans lead all nationalities in rates of painkiller overdose death.

Lortab Addiction Treatment

Professional treatment is the most effective way to overcome a Lortab addiction, and rehabilitation centers can offer a variety of potential therapies, including the following:

  • Medically supervised opioid detoxification, possibly using a gradual reduction in dosage
  • Integrated treatment for co-occurring mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and mania
  • Counseling to address past trauma, identity issues, and substance abuse triggers
  • Behavioral therapies that foster healthier mental habits and reactions
  • Motivational interviewing that guides patients to their own positive solutions
  • Group therapy to open up about experiences, motivations, and struggles

Most rehabilitation centers are inclusive of all ethnicities, but there are specialty programs that cater to specific cultural groups. The decision regarding which type of treatment is best should be based on which setting the patient believes will be the most comfortable and conducive to recovery.

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