Authors:Zoe W. Jahn, Joel Lopez, Sara de la Salle, Sonya Faber, and Monnica T. Williams
Few studies have assessed the epidemiology of hallucinogenic substance use among racial and ethnic groups of varying age cohorts. Use of psychedelic substances may differ among people of color (POC), due to factors such as stigma and discriminatory drug enforcement practices against POC. The lack of inclusion of POC in psychedelic research further underscores the importance of identifying differences in use among racial/ethnic groups and age cohorts.
Data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was used for this analysis (N = 56,313, unweighted), representative of the non-institutionalized U.S. population. Proportions of lifetime hallucinogen use by race/ethnicity were compared. Proportions of past year rates of use were compared to examine differences by race/ethnicity and age cohort.
Approximately 15.9% of the U.S. population over 12 had used a hallucinogen at some point in their lifetime and 2.0% had used in the past year. Lifetime hallucinogen use was most prevalent among non-Hispanic White and multi-racial individuals, while Black/African Americans reported the lowest rates of use. White and multi-racial groups also reported the highest proportions of past year use among 12–34 year olds, and White individuals reported the highest proportions among 35–49 year olds. Hispanic individuals reported higher proportions of use among the 12–17 cohort, but lower proportions among the 26–49 year old cohorts. Black/African Americans reported the lowest rates of past year use among the 12–25 year old cohorts. 50+ and older cohorts reported the lowest rates of hallucinogen use in the past year.
Data is cross-sectional and self-reported. “Race” is a social construction is subject to change over time, and NSDUH ethnoracial categories are limited. Institutionalized populations are not included in the study.
Significant differences in hallucinogen use among ethnoracial groups by substance and age cohorts were observed. Findings from this work may inform education, interventions, and therapeutic psychedelic research.