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Highest Drug Use
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - A recently released report on racial/ethnic variations in substance-related disorders among adolescents in the United States conducted by Duke University indicates that American Indian teens had the highest level of drug use among all other groups surveyed with nearly 48 percent usage.
The overall breakdown of drug usage among teens is as follows: 39 percent of Caucasian teens, nearly 37 percent of Hispanics, 36 percent of multi-racial adolescents, 32 percent of African Americans and almost 24 percent of Asians.
Best Opportunity to Intervene
American Indian teens were also found to have the highest - and blacks and Asians the lowest - rate of substance-use disorder, which is defined as symptoms that would interfere with social functioning, work or school, and if obtaining the substance becomes a priority.
The researchers write in the report that the prevalence of substance use among American Indian teens highlight a need for intervention in policymaking to ensure the youth can receive the support they need, and to address underfunded care services.
The comprehensive study surveyed 72,561 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years across all states in the country. The study was conducted between 2005 and 2008.
The principal author of the report is Dan Blazer, who is a professor of psychiatry at Duke University. He states that drugs are a serious problem among 12 to 17 year olds.
However, researcher Dan Blazer says the teen years are a good time for action:
“Probably during adolescence, we have our very best opportunity to prevent, intervene, and hopefully turn around adolescents who may be moving toward a lifelong pattern of substance use and disorder.”
The study in Archives of General Psychiatry was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
posted December 8, 2011 6:00 am est
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