Even though Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are less likely to drink alcohol than many other groups, they have high rates of abuse. Binge drinking and alcohol dependence are big problems for this population. Alcohol abuse has been linked to increases in injuries, violence, and mental health problems, including suicide. These problems are some of the top health concerns for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
Alcoholism is a pattern of drinking that is harmful to the drinker or to others. It is a disease that includes the following:
Craving: a strong need to drink
Loss of control: can't stop drinking once drinking has started
Physical dependence: having withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after a time of heavy drinking
Tolerance: need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to "get high"
For women, heavy drinking is consuming an average of more than one drink per day. Binge drinking is consuming four or more drinks on a single occasion, generally within two hours. Both heavy and/or binge drinking can lead to alcohol problems, including alcoholism. Binge drinking can raise a woman's risk of being hurt or raped.
Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have some of the highest rates of illegal drug use among minority groups. Drug abuse also plays a role in many major community problems. These include car crashes and deaths, violence, stress, and child abuse. Drug abuse can lead to homelessness, crime, and missed work or problems with keeping a job. It harms unborn babies and destroys families. There are different types of treatment for drug abuse.
Concurrent Illicit Drug and Alcohol Use - This report provides statistics on the number of illicit drug and alcohol use incidents by various drugs and amounts of alcohol. It also addresses prevalence rates by race.
Drinking and Your Pregnancy - This brochure explains how alcohol can cause problems during pregnancy and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. It also provides a list of resources for more information and where to get help.
Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health - If you drink alcohol, this pamphlet can help you determine how much is too much and what to do if you're thinking about a change. It offers statistics on alcohol use, a checklist of symptoms for an alcohol use disorder, and a list of further resources.
What You Need To Know: The Effects of Alcohol on Women - This fact sheet provides data and statistics on women and drinking, including associated health risks and the effects of drinking during pregnancy and nursing. It also provides resources for additional information about alcohol and women.