The Department of Justice reports that, of black males born in 2001, one in three will be incarcerated at some point in their lives, compared to one in six Hispanics. For white youth, the number drops significantly to one in 17.
Researchers found that "hard drugs" (opiates, amphetamines, etc.) are “less common among delinquent African-American youth than those who are non-Hispanic white.”
Over the course of the study, the team interviewed 1,829 youths (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 1995-1998.
"Those findings are striking considering the widely accepted stereotype of African Americans as the most prevalent abusers of 'hard drugs,'" senior author of the study Linda A. Teplin, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told AlterNet.
"Our findings add to the growing debate on how the war on drugs has affected African Americans," Teplin asserted. "We found that African Americans are less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to abuse hard drugs. Yet African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated for drug crimes."
All racial groups shared one common theme however, as marijuana was the most popular and widely-used intoxicant. They also found that, as people aged, their preferences tended to shift toward alcohol.