Celebrating Juneteenth and Ending Enslavement to Addictions

On June 19, millions of Americans will celebrate “Juneteenth,” the longest-running African American holiday. In Texas, slavery had continued long after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Many slave owners from outside the Lone Star State had moved there, as they viewed it as a safe haven for slavery. On June 19, 1865, a full two and half years after the proclamation was signed, federal troops arrived in GalvestonTexas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. On June 17, 2021, President Biden declared Juneteenth a national holiday, honoring the end of slavery in the U.S.


African Americans and Addiction


At The Next Door, while we celebrate Juneteenth and what it means to the African American community, we also know that many members of this community continue to be enslaved – by drug or alcohol addiction. The drug crisis in American transcends all cultural, economic and racial barriers, affecting all our communities; however, African American neighborhoods and families are hit harder in certain areas.

  • African Americans have the highest use of marijuana. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020, September). 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: African Americans.
  • Up to 90% of African Americans who need treatment for a Substance Abuse Disorder do not receive it. (Yale School of Medicine. (2021, October 1). Racial inequities in treatments of addictive disorders.)
  • Blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to complete addiction treatment, largely due to socioeconomic factors, in particular unemployment and housing instability. (Health Affairs, Volume 32, No 1, Transforming the delivery of health care.)
  • The number of Black Americans who receive treatment for overdoseis 50% less than white, non-Hispanic people. (ibid)
  • Fatal overdoses are rising higher in African Americans. (National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, July 16). Access to addiction services differs by race and gender.)


Culturally Relevant Treatment


The American Psychological Association found that members of racial and ethnic minority groups are most likely to experience barriers that impede their ability to access substance abuse treatment. Experts say several factors are important in delivering effective treatment to prepare African American patients for lifetime recovery.


  • Program Staff – Cultural differences between providers and program participants can easily undermine the reception of treatment. A multicultural staff is most effective in providing substance abuse treatment, and programs treating African Americans benefit from having someone of color represented on the treatment team. (Williams, R. (2008). Cultural Considerations in AOD Treatment for African Americans.)


  • Location – Programs should be provided in facilities that are easily accessible to the client. Studies have found that lack of transportation is one of the top reported barriers to treatment for African Americans. (ibid)



The Next Door Can Help


The Next Door serves an ethnically diverse group of women through culturally appropriate care. Our employees are intentionally diverse to bridge the gap in culture while treating women of many different races and ethnicities.  We weave Christ into all we do, respecting the different religious beliefs, cultural norms, and faith rituals that clients bring into treatment.


If you know a woman who is enslaved by a substance abuse disorder, call The Next Door at 615-249-3662.  We are here to help.


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