According to a new study published by the Partnership at Drug Free Organizations, “Hispanic teens are more likely to use illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine, compared with their African-American and Caucasian counterparts, according to a new study.”
The study indicates that 54% of Hispanic teens have reported taking illicit drug, followed by 45% of African Americans and 43% of Caucasians. While the study did not have a clear reason why the percentages are so high for Hispanics, it did note that Hispanics seem to have greater access to drugs and have been offered a variety of drugs at a higher rate than their peers.
Where are the Hispanic parents?
Many of us wonder where the parents are and what they think about teen drug use, but according to the study, many Hispanic parents, a whopping 21%, believe it’s okay if their teens light up and smoke marijuana. The parent’s permissiveness as well as the increased availability of drugs could be linked to the increase in teen drug abuse. Experts don’t have a good explanation about why so many parents may believe marijuana use is okay, but they argue it could have to do with “misconceptions regarding prescription drug misuse and abuse.”
What do the parent’s of other racial groups think? There seems to be a great deal of discrepancy. Only 11% of African American parents and 6% of Caucasian parents believed marijuana use for their children was okay.
Not only do Hispanic parents seem to show less disapproval for occasional marijuana use, they also had the “highest rates of problems establishing rules that prohibit drug use and doled out less punishment for their teen’s drug use.”
The study also noted that because Hispanic teens are more likely to have friends that also abuse drugs there may be a lower perceived risk of the behavior as well as limited social disapproval from their peers.
Increased drug use throughout the United States?
The study also noted that the increased incidence of drug use for Hispanics is not limited to one part of the country, although they did note that marijuana use was highest on the West coast and lower in the Midwest. The study highlights how important it is for Hispanic parents to understand the effects of drug use and talk to their kids about its potential dangers.
Living the American Dream
America has always been the land of opportunity, the melting pot, the place that immigrants can come to make a better life for themselves and their families. But finding the dream often means staying in school, getting married before you have children and staying drug free.
The good news is according to Pew Research, “Second-generation Latinos are doing substantially better than their parents on all socioeconomic measures.” The bad news is fifty two percent of second generation Latina adults gave birth outside marriage, compared to 29 percent of immigrant Hispanic women. Unfortunately, if you combine a large number of out of wedlock births with increased drug use it’s not long before you will see American Dream crumble.
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