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Oklahoma House Rep.: Native Americans Are 'Predisposed to Alcoholism'

Oklahoma House Representative Russ Todd, a Republican, said Native Americans are "predisposed to alcoholism."

During a debate on the proposed expansion of liquor sales in Oklahoma, a House Representative there caused are stir after stating it would not bode well for Native Americans, The Associated Press reported.

The proposed plan calls for a statewide vote that would, if passed, effectively change the state constitution to allow liquor and strong beer sales at grocery stores.

In opposition to the expansion, Republican Rep. Todd Russ said on Thursday that Native Americans are "predisposed to alcoholism."

Fellow Republican Rep. Dan Kirby, who is the chairman of the House Native American Caucus, said Russ's comments were out of order, the AP reported.

The science concerning Native Americans and the affect alcohol has on their bodies is at best murky, say medical professionals.

For example, one study found that whites and Native Americans metabolize liquor at the same rate.

"The mean rates of alcohol metabolism were virtually identical," the study reads. "These findings make it unlikely that alleged racial differences in response to alcohol can be explained on the basis of racial differences in the rate of alcohol metabolism."

Whereas other studies suggest that Native Americans produce a "less efficient" form of alcohol dehydrogenase, the premiere enzyme that breaks down liquor in the body, than people of other races.


At the time of the publication of this story, Rep. Russ did not respond to ICTMN's request for comment.