Racism’s Hidden Threat
Discrimination is hurtful and nasty, but researchers are now discovering that it can lead to drug abuse as well. Psychologists at Iowa State University studied more than 600 Black adolescents from Georgia and Iowa and found that those who experience racial discrimination prior to age 12 are twice as likely to use drugs by the time they’re teens. In fact, incidents of racial discrimination are the strongest predictors of subsequent drug use among Black teens. Among those who experienced early discrimination and also exhibited some form of conduct disorder — such as vandalism or burglary — more than half reported drug use within five years of the experience, researchers found.
“In making that conclusion, it should be emphasized that African-American kids use substances, including drugs, significantly less than White kids — in spite of the fact that they experience this additional stress [from discrimination],” says Dr. Rick Gibbons of ISU’s Institute for Social and Behavioral Research.
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com