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Hispanic Teens More Likely Than Whites, Blacks to Use Drugs

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A new report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) finds that Hispanic youth are more likely to use illicit drugs than white or black teens and says trying to adapt to American culture may be the cause, the Associated Press reported Sept. 24.

The “Hispanic Teens & Drugs” report said that more than 10 percent of Hispanic 8th-graders used illicit drugs during the past month, compared to 8.6 percent of blacks and 7.5 percent of whites. ONDCP unveiled the report as it launched a new anti-drug campaign targeting Hispanic youths.

Hispanic youths who adopted American cultural and lifestyle habits were 13 times more likely to report illicit drug use as unacculturated Hispanics.

Hector Gesualdo, executive director of ASPIRA of New York, an advocacy group for Hispanic youth that is collaborating with ONDCP on the ad campaign, said the findings were “a cry for help.”

The ads urge Hispanic parents to talk with their kids about drugs. “Hispanic teens say fear of upsetting their parents is the main reason why they don't use drugs, and parents can use this influence to help prevent drug use,” said deputy U.S. drug czar Scott Burns.

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