Impacts of Culture on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Impactsof Culture on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Impactsof Culture on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Culturehas been defined as a set of patterns of human activity that describethe way of life of people. Different cultural elements are uniquefrom every social group. These include customs, law, dress, beliefs,and tradition among others. Culture acts as a guiding principle ofthe behavior of people in society.

Substanceabuse and addictions are caused by several factors including thebiological and psychological ones. However, other sociological forceshave been identified as playing a role in influencing drug abuse.This causes a large group of people to be vulnerable to addiction.The Native American Culture has several impacts on substance abuseand addiction. Acculturation is one of the cultural elements thatinfluence substance abuse by the Native American people (Anthony,2006). It is the degree at which people identify themselves withtheir native culture. When the Native Americans land became invaded,their culture lost its identity. Loss of the traditional culture ledto substance abuse problems.

Someaddictive drugs have been used frequently by the Native Americansdaily. These have increasingly been considered staple commodities.Alcohol and nicotine are the common drugs used for recreationalpurpose most of the drugs have contributed to the addiction problemsof the Native American people. Sports was a source of pride for mostNative American people. It was a part of their culture aimed atcounteracting the problem of substance abuse and addiction. It keptthe teenagers busy to avoid being involved with drugs. It had apositive impact on solving the problem of substance abuse.

Theancient Aztecs used substances such as alcohol on specificceremonies. There was regulation of alcohol consumption which wasonly for ceremonial purposes. The abuse of alcohol by any otherperson was punishable by the penalty of death (Anthony, 2006). Thecultural practice helped in preventing the abuse of drugs andaddiction. Hence, the acculturation practice was maintained. Everyonein the community respected the culture which was pivotal in shapingthe expectation of individuals. Therefore, this solved the problemsof drug addiction. The Aztec people also employ the use of drugs formedicinal purpose. They cultivate plants such as opium used asmedications. The practice prevents the use of drugs for wrongpurposes and also provides solutions for addiction problem (Anthony,2006).

BothNative American culture and Aztec community relied on theacculturation cultural practice to limit the abuse of substancesthereby reducing their use. Although the Native American peoplepractice of acculturation did not yield results, the Aztec peoplemaintained their custom. The other difference in the influence thatthe two cultures have on substance abuse and addiction is that theNative American culture encourages alcoholism while the Aztec culturedoes not. The Native American people used alcohol and other drugs forrecreational purpose unlike the Aztec people who only used the drugsfor ceremonial reasons and medicine. Sports were a part of culturalpractice for the Native American people as a solution for substanceabuse and addiction unlike the Aztec community.


Anthony, C. (2006). The symbolic construction of community. Routledge: New York.