For Students Nearing College Age, Whites Are Far More Likely Than Blacks to Be Illegal Drug Users

Getting good grades in high school and preparing for college is extremely difficult when young students become involved in drugs or alcohol. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds large racial differences among black and white high school students in what are called at-risk behaviors. And contrary to widely held stereotypes, it is not blacks of college age who are using drugs. In almost all cases, white teens have higher rates of drug abuse than black teens.

Black teenagers are slightly more likely than their white peers to use marijuana. But for every other drug in the CDC survey, whites were more likely to be users than blacks. In some cases the racial differences were quite large. For example, whites are three times as likely as blacks to have tried cocaine, hallucinogenic drugs, or methamphetamines. Whites are nearly twice as likely to have taken illegal steroids or used inhalants. Whites are also significantly more likely to drink alcohol than blacks.