Onome Akpogheneta, The Grio, November 7, 2011
A new study examining alcohol and drug use among teens has revealed that African-American adolescents are less likely abuse drugs than teens from other ethnic groups.
Over 35 percent of white and over 32 percent of Hispanic teens admitted to alcohol use, while around 25 percent of African-American and 19 percent Asian-Americans and Pacific Island teens reported alcohol use. Drug use patterns were similar to those for alcohol use.
“We did not think that African Americans had a significantly higher use and disorder rate, but the lower rate was a surprise,” said lead author Dan G. Blazer, of Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry.
The results show that overall 37 percent of teens said they had used alcohol or drugs in the past year. Researchers found that teens used marijuana more frequently than alcohol or other drugs, and analgesic opioids–like pain pills or heroin–replaced inhalants, or “huffing,” as the second most common drug after marijuana.
These findings surveyed 72,500 adolescents from all 50 states between 2005 and 2008, and asked about their use of alcohol and nine classes of drugs, including inhalants, marijuana, cocaine as well as non-medical use of prescription analgesic pain pills and sedatives.
Native American adolescents had the highest rates of substance use, with nearly 48 percent of teens reporting alcohol or drug use, and 15 percent considered to have a substance abuse disorder.
After Native Americans, around 23 percent of children of mixed ethnicities and 20 percent of white teens admitted drug use, while African-American and Hispanic drug use rates were similar at around 18 percent. Asian teens had the lowest rates at just under 12 percent.