Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hispanic Teens and Drugs

Drug use down 23% among US teens since 2001, but was higher last year among Hispanic teens than white or black teens. Reason given? The Hispanic teens are becoming more “acculturated.” “Non”-acculturated Hispanic teens, however they were defined, are far less likely to use. Since we’re talking 8th, 10th, and 12th graders overall in the decrease in drug use, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not the threat of prison for all but a few of them that’s accounting for the decline. IOW, PREVENTION efforts have been the drivers of the decrease, not incarceration. And it raises an interesting point for the next few years, since we know early drug use is one of the best indicators of later adult drug use. Will we still see the same numbers going into prison because of drugs every year even if the numbers of users drops? Have we built an infrastructure that requires a maintained number of offenders in prison every year, or will we cut back our emphasis on “drug warrioring” with the decline of social drug threat and focus our resources back on property and especially violent crime and their prevention with the freed up resources? My guess is we have too many people invested in “fighting drugs” to see any letdown even as the perceived danger to society perceptibly diminishes, but I thought the Saints would be good this year.

No comments: