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Native American Spirituality: Deterrent to Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Native American spiritual practices act as deterrent against drug and alcohol abuse

Social Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that young Native Americans who practice traditional Native American spiritual beliefs are less likely to use drugs and alcohol than those young Native Americans who do not practice the spirituality of their ancestors. The results of a study conducted by Arizona State researchers will be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colorado.

The findings were originally published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.  Lead Researcher, Stephen Kulis states, “Our study is one of the few to address the role of spirituality and religion among urban Native youth, recognizing the unique histories of cultural integration that characterize today’s urban American Indian communities and the complex belief systems and practices that sustain them in the urban landscape.”

Deterrent to Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The study showed that young Native Americans who practiced the traditional spirituality of their ancestors were the least likely to use drugs and alcohol among their subculture. Following a combination of Native and Christian beliefs also showed to be a determining factor in the lower likelihood of Native American youth becoming active drug and alcohol users.

About half of the young people who were questioned in the study had refused to accept an offer of illegal drugs in the past 30 days. Most of the participants were Native American young people who live in integrated urban communities.

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