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National Study Reveals Native and White Kids Most Likely to Abuse Drugs

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A recent study lead by Duke University based on a large sample of teens from across the 50 states reveals that Native kids are the most likely to abuse or become dependent on drugs and alcohol. "The prevalence of disorders was by far highest among Native Americans, at 15 percent," reported McClatchy Newspapers.

After American Indians, white kids are the most likely to develop a drug habit—much more so than black or Asian kids, the study revealed. "There is certainly still a myth out there that black kids are more likely to have problems with drugs than white kids, and this documents as clearly as any study we're aware of that the rate of . . . substance-related disorders among African American youths is significantly lower," Dr. Dan Blazer of Duke's Department of Psychiatry, a senior author of the study, told McClatchy.

Across all racial and ethnic groups, 37 percent reported drug or alcohol use in the past year. Nearly 8 percent exhibited signs of a substance abuse disorder.

Marijuana was the most prevalent choice among kids who abused illegal drugs, followed by prescription opioids such as oxycodone. Of the marijuana users in the study, 26 percent had issues with abuse or dependency on the drug.

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Blazer also notes substance-abuse problems vary greatly from one tribe to another, and a shortcoming of the cross-cultural study is that it wasn't broken down into smaller subsets, such as tribes. Also, Asians were not distinguished from Pacific Islanders, thus making it more challenging to dig deeper into the questions raised by the study, he told McClatchy.