University Research Finds Black Teens Are Less Likely Than Their White Peers to Use Drugs or Alcohol

A new study by researchers at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania has found that, contrary to widely held stereotypes, black teenagers are less likely than white teens to use alcohol or illegal drugs.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, examined survey results of more than 72,000 youth ages 12 to 17. The data showed that 37 percent of all respondents used alcohol or drugs in the year prior to the survey. American Indian teens were the most likely to have drunk alcohol or use drugs. Nearly one half of American Indian youth reported drinking or drug use. Some 39 percent of white teens said they had drank alcohol or used drugs. In contrast, only 32 percent of black teenagers reporting using alcohol or drugs. Asian teens were the least likely to drink or use drugs.

Dan G. Blazer, a professor at Duke University and one of the authors of the study told Bloomberg News, “What surprised us the most was the relatively lower rate of use among African Americans. The public perception is that is not the case.”

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  1. This is not the first time this information has come to light. How many times does it take before policy makers make the connection between this and mass incarceration?

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