The government’s latest National Study on Drug Use and Health is out, and it’s chock full of data about who’s using and abusing what substances, all broken down in excruciating detail.

We’ve pulled out the race/ethnicity stats for easier perusal.  Before you reach for a box of tissues braced for horrible news, we’ll offer a glimmer of hope and say that if you look at the overall report PDF, the trend lines look fairly decent.  And the New York Daily News saw positive news for Black and Asian teens, reporting this:

Black, Asian teens least likely to use drugs, alcohol
JOYCE CHEN
Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Black and Asian teens are less likely to use drugs and alcohol than their white counterparts, according to a new study.

The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 39 percent of white teens between the ages of 12 and 17 admitted to using substances in the past year, compared to just 32 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Asians.

Topping the list of adolescent substance users are Native American youth, at an astounding 48 percent.

 

Now brace yourself for a more detailed picture — good and bad — of what’s going on.  Tissues optional.

 

Drug use by race-ethnicity

Via SAMHSA.gov's NSDUH

Illicit Drugs

•    In 2010, among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use among Asians was similar to that among Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders (3.5 and 5.4 percent, respectively), but the rate among Asians was lower than among other racial/ethnic groups (Figure 2.10).

The rate among persons of two or more races was similar to that among American Indians or Alaska Natives and among blacks (12.5, 12.1, and 10.7 percent, respectively). The rate was 8.1 percent among Hispanics and 9.1 percent among whites.

•    There were no statistically significant differences in the rate of current illicit drug use between 2009 and 2010 or between 2002 and 2010 for any of the racial/ethnic groups. However, there were significant increases in the rate for whites and Hispanics between 2008 and 2010.

 

Alcohol use by race-ethnicity

SAMHSA.gov, NSDUH

Alcohol

•    Among persons aged 12 or older, whites in 2010 were more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to report current use of alcohol (56.7 percent) (Figure 3.2). The rates were 45.2 percent for persons reporting two or more races, 42.8 percent for blacks, 41.8 percent for Hispanics, 38.4 percent for Asians, and 36.6 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives.

•    The rate of binge alcohol use was lowest among Asians (12.4 percent). Rates for other racial/ethnic groups were 19.8 percent for blacks, 21.5 percent for persons reporting two or more races, 24.0 percent for whites, 24.7 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 25.1 percent for Hispanics.

•    Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2010, Asians had lower rates of current alcohol use than any other racial/ethnic group (4.8 percent), while 10.8 percent of black youths, 11.1 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native youths, 13.0 percent of youths reporting two or more races, 13.9 percent of Hispanic youths, and 14.9 percent of white youths were current drinkers. The rate for white youths was lower than it was in 2009, when it was 16.1 percent.

•    More males than females aged 12 to 20 reported current alcohol use (28.3 vs. 24.1 percent), binge drinking (19.8 vs. 14.0 percent), and heavy drinking (6.7 vs. 3.5 percent) in 2010 (Figure 3.7).

•    Among persons aged 12 to 20, past month alcohol use rates in 2010 were 15.4 percent among Asians, 20.4 percent among blacks, 22.9 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives, 24.2 percent among those reporting two or more races, 24.4 percent among Hispanics, and 29.3 percent among whites.

•    In 2010, among persons aged 12 to 20, binge drinking was reported by 19.8 percent of whites, 18.4 percent of American Indians or Alaska Natives, 16.0 percent of Hispanics, and 15.1 percent of persons reporting two or more races, but only 9.9 percent of blacks and 7.8 percent of Asians reported binge drinking.

 

Tobacco

•    In 2010, the prevalence of current use of a tobacco product among persons aged 12 or older was 12.5 percent for Asians, 21.9 percent for Hispanics, 27.3 percent for blacks, 29.5 percent for whites, 32.0 percent for persons who reported two or more races, and 35.8 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives. There were no statistically significant changes in past month use of a tobacco product between 2009 and 2010 for any of these racial/ethnic groups.

•    In 2010, current cigarette smoking among youths aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 25 was more prevalent among whites than blacks (9.8 vs. 4.5 percent for youths and 39.1 vs. 26.3 percent for young adults).

•    The current smoking rates in 2010 for Hispanics across age groups were 8.0 percent among youths aged 12 to 17, 27.4 percent among young adults aged 18 to 25, and 20.5 percent among those aged 26 or older. These rates were similar to smoking rates for Hispanics in 2009.

•    Smoking rates across age groups held steady for Asians between 2009 and 2010. The current smoking rate for Asian youths aged 12 to 17 was 2.5 percent in 2009 and 3.6 percent in 2010. The rates for Asian young adults aged 18 to 25 and adults aged 26 or older also held steady between 2009 and 2010 (21.6 to 21.0 percent for young adults and 9.9 to 10.1 percent for adults aged 26 or older, respectively).

•    The current smoking prevalence rate for American Indian or Alaska Native youths aged 12 to 17 was 14.9 percent in 2010. This rate was not significantly different from the rate in 2008 (18.9 percent) or 2009 (11.6 percent).

 

Substance Dependence

•    In 2010, among persons aged 12 or older, rates of substance dependence or abuse were lower among Asians (4.1 percent) and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders (5.6 percent) than among other racial/ethnic groups.

The rates for the other racial/ethnic groups were 16.0 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, 9.7 percent for persons reporting two or more races, 9.7 percent for Hispanics, 8.9 percent for whites, and 8.2 percent for blacks.

The rates of alcohol dependence or abuse for the racial/ethnic groups in 2010 were similar to the rates in 2002 and 2009, except that among blacks aged 12 or older, the rate of alcohol dependence or abuse in 2010 (5.7 percent) was lower than that in 2009 (7.0 percent) and in 2002 (7.1 percent).

Moreover, among persons aged 18 or older who reported two or more races, the rate of substance dependence or abuse in 2010 (9.6 percent) was lower than that in 2009 (14.4 percent).

 

Full study results (PDF) are here.

 

 

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