The 12-year study highlights the incongruence between drug use and incarceration rates along racial lines.
By now we can all agree that the real target of Reagan’s enduring war on drugs was never drugs, it was African Americans. But if rising incarceration rates among black youth or the utter failure to curtail drug use is not enough proof, perhaps a new study from Northwestern University on racial differences among drug users will do the trick.
According to the study’s findings recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, abuse and dependence on "hard drugs" (opiates, amphetamine, etc.) are “less common among delinquent African American youth than those who are non-Hispanic white.”
The study was conducted over the course of 12 years and interviewed 1,829 youth (1,172 males and 657 females between the ages of 10 to 18) who were detained at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago between 1995 and 1998.
Researchers interviewed the participants in the study up to nine times through the course of their 20s. In that time, findings revealed that the odds of non-Hispanic white youths using cocaine were 30 times higher than African Americans. Hispanic participants trailed slightly behind, showing 20 times the odds of cocaine use compared to their African-American brethren.