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J Stud Alcohol. 1988 Jul;49(4):324-34.

Some Navajo Indian opinions about alcohol abuse and prohibition: a survey and recommendations for policy.

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Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


In this study a questionnaire was administered to a sample of Navajo Indians in the southwestern region of the reservation to examine (1) their knowledge about the consequences of alcohol abuse and (2) their opinions about alcohol abuse, the etiology of abuse and alcohol legalization. Survey responses indicate that the Navajo surveyed are quite knowledgeable about the various adverse consequences of alcohol abuse. The survey found that 52% of these Navajo adults currently drink at all, and the opinion responses generally characterize alcohol consumption, even in small amounts, as a negative behavior. Sixty-three percent of all Navajos agreed with the popular, but scientifically unsubstantiated, belief that Indians have a physical weakness to alcohol that non-Indians do not have. Alcohol legalization on the reservation is opposed by 81% of the Navajos surveyed. Opinions about alcohol use and policy do not vary greatly even when knowledge of alcohol consequences and current drinking status is considered. The article concludes with a discussion of the importance of positive, solution-oriented public education and debate for entertaining new ideas about alcohol policy and for reducing the sequelae of alcohol abuse among the Navajo.

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