Barriers and Pathways to Diffusion of Methamphetamine Use Among African Americans in the Rural South: Preliminary Ethnographic Findings

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There are no studies of African Americans’, methamphetamine use in the South where it is widespread among whites. We describe factors that inhibit or facilitate the diffusion of methamphetamine use among African Americans based on qualitative interviews with 86 drug users in rural Arkansas and Kentucky. Results suggest low prevalence of methamphetamine use among African Americans, and interviewees cited several barriers to its diffusion which were linked to the

drug’s ingredients, psychoactive and physiological effects, difficulty in accessing distribution networks, and established African-American preference for cocaine. Fourteen African Americans reported methamphetamine use and discussed pathways to it. Possible increases in African-American methamphetamine use merits further investigation.



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