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Adolescent substance abuse among Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian populations

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Introduction.
  3. Risk factors.
  4. Consequences.
  5. Treatment.
  6. Conclusion.

Substance abuse has been a significant problem for adolescents in recent years, prompting many community programs for awareness, prevention, and treatment. In a recent survey of nearly 50,000 U.S. students, nearly 50% of high school seniors and 20% of eighth graders reported having used marijuana within the past year (Feldman, 2008). Outside of the criminal activity involved with underage tobacco and alcohol use and illicit and prescription drug use, parents have to worry about the possibility of addiction, with its accompanying academic, physical, social, and emotional consequences. Even worse, the poorer judgment skills of adolescents puts them at higher risk for overdose when abusing substances, which could cause serious health damage and even death. Current research and practice focuses on prevention, including risk factors, consequences of abuse, and effective treatment. The majority of this research, however, finds significant differences in ethnic groups, revealing the need for differentiation between Caucasian, Hispanic, and African-American adolescents in these areas. Hispanic adolescents, for example, use drugs at much higher rates than Caucasians and African Americans, especially when it comes to alcohol, crack, heroin, and Rohypnol.

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