Black and Asian Teens Have the Lowest Rates of Drug Use Black and Asian Teens Have the Lowest Rates of Drug Use
The GOOD Life

Black and Asian Teens Have the Lowest Rates of Drug Use

by Cord Jefferson

November 12, 2011

A study published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry says that black and Asian teens are less likely to use drugs and alcohol than white people their age. In a survey of more than 72,000 young people conducted by Dan Blazer, a psychiatry professor at Duke Medical Center, 39 percent of white teens and 37 percent of Latinos reported having abused substances in the past year, compared to 32 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Asians. When it came to drugs alone, 20 percent of whites, 19 percent of blacks, and 12 percent of Asians reported using.

In the 1990s, the juvenile black drug arrest rate was nearly three times that of whites, and in 2008 it remained almost double. The fact is that cops bust blacks kids markedly more for a crime they commit slightly less often. This is especially unfair because petty drug offenses are how thousands of black kids per year end up in the U.S. justice system. Their criminal records then haunt many of them for the rest of their lives, ruining their employment and educational opportunities and all but forcing them to turn to more crime to stay afloat.

We've argued before that America's nonsensical drug laws leave a lot to be desired when compared with those of other Western nations. But when police don't enforce those laws evenhandedly, they go from being just nonsense to racist as well.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user roger jones

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Black and Asian Teens Have the Lowest Rates of Drug Use