By Benjamin Chambers, January 09 2009
Charles M. Blow, in an Op-Ed in the January 9th New York Times, reported some scary data from the annual Monitoring the Future study:
...[T]he percentage of both black and white 12th graders who confessed to using cocaine in the past 30 days has essentially stayed flat since 2001. The major difference is that white usage outweighs black usage 4 to 1.
He goes on to add:
According to the most recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, admissions of white teenagers to drug treatment centers for crack and cocaine abuse soared 76 percent from 2001 to 2006. Crack and cocaine was the only illicit drug category in which the number of admissions for white teens grew over this period, and in 2006 the number was at its highest level since these data have been kept. By contrast, admissions among black teens for crack and cocaine over the same period held steady. By 2006, white admissions outnumbered those for blacks by more than 10 to 1.
Of course, when it comes to what teenagers are using, cocaine is dwarfed by alcohol and marijuana (not to mention nicotine). But these are sobering numbers, and they have implications for what kind of treatment interventions communities should have in place.
And more importantly, the apparent discrepancy between the ratio of white-to-black teenagers using cocaine (4:1) vs. the ratio of white-to-black teens being treated for cocaine use (10:1) is disturbing (though the numbers admittedly come from two different sources). It implies that youth of color are not being treated at the same rate as their white counterparts.
Have you seen these trends of cocaine use and treatment reflected in your own community? Among teens who need treatment, are white youth being treated at higher rates than black youth, or youth of color? If the barrier is one of cultural competence, how can we address it?
Topics: No bio box, Public Policy, Research Updates
Updated: January 09 2009