Based on 2010 US census data, the number of African Americans (AA) in the United States had grown to 42 million individuals, a 15.4% increase from 2000 - 2010. This number represents those who identified as black, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.The African American community currently makes up 13.6% of the total U.S. population, with an expected rise to 15% by 2050.
Although substance use disorders is a national issue, with 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needing treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem based on 2009 SAMHSA data, particular attentions needs to be brought to sub populations to ensure that services are culturally appropriate and adequate for that sub population's needs. This is highlighted by the fact that 2008 SAMHSA data showed that AA accounted for 20.9% of admissions to publicly funded substance abuse treatment facilities. Also, in 2010, among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of illicit drug use among AA was 10.7 %, with no significant change in use from the previous 8 years. Clearly more needs to be done, and can be done, to provide more culturally appropriate treatment options to the AA community.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a very important tool in the hands of trained professionals, in the fight against substance use disorders. Focus group data was collected from AA individuals using MAT in the development of this training, and their words spoke to the importance of MAT to their recovery. One participant stated "[MAT]... allows me to take care of myself, my family and responsibilities.". Another eloquently captured the essence of their new life, "I am more focused now. It has prevented me from spending all my money on drugs. I am able to keep my money in my pocket. I am able to enjoy and appreciate more than I was before. I have improved my relationship with my daughter. I wasn't in love with myself and I became in touch with myself. Now I am in love with myself and I am enjoying things"