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Study: Hispanic Teens More Likely Than Those in Other Ethnic Groups to Use Drugs

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A new study finds Hispanic teenagers are more likely than African-American or Caucasian teens to use drugs. The study by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found 54 percent of Hispanic adolescents said they had used an illegal drug, compared with 45 percent of African-American teens and 43 percent of Caucasian teens.

Hispanic teens are more likely to have access to drugs, to have friends who abuse drugs, and to have been offered drugs, according to the findings. The study found 62 percent of Hispanic teens have been offered drugs such as crack/cocaine, Ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine at least once, compared with 53 percent of Caucasian teens and 46 percent of African-American teens.

Parents’ attitudes may partly explain the findings, CNN reports. The study found 21 percent of Hispanic parents said they didn’t mind if their teenager smoked marijuana sometimes, compared with 11 percent of African-American parents and 6 percent of Caucasian parents.

Among Hispanic parents, 28 percent believe using prescription drugs to get high is much safer than using street drugs, compared with 20 percent of African-American parents and 9 percent of Caucasian parents.

“Parental permissiveness is another factor we document as being linked to teen substance abuse. Hispanic parents appear to have some misconceptions regarding prescription drug misuse and abuse,” said William Raikes, Assistant Director of Consumer Research at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Both of these factors could have an influence on a child’s substance abuse.”

Hispanic parents are more likely than other parents to feel they have difficulty enforcing rules against substance abuse. They are also more likely to feel there is little they can do to help their teens abstain from substance use.

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