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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Indicator 20: Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Drugs

Students who use alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs such as marijuana are more likely than their peers to experience problems of low academic achievement, truancy, and other discipline-related issues (Bryant et al. 2003; Bryant and Zimmerman 2002). In the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, children between the ages of 12 and 17 and adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were surveyed to determine whether they used alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and other drugs in the past 30 days.

In 2004, 18 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. A higher percentage of White (20 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (19 percent), and Hispanic (18 percent) children reported drinking alcohol in the past month than did their Black and Asian peers (10 and 9 percent, respectively). American Indian/Alaska Native children were more likely than their Black, Hispanic, and Asian peers to have smoked cigarettes in the past month and were also more likely than these groups to have used marijuana in the past month.27 Eighteen percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children reported smoking cigarettes in the past month, compared to 9 percent of Hispanics, 6 percent of Blacks, and 5 percent of Asians. A higher percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native (17 percent) children reported using marijuana in the past month than their Hispanic (7 percent), Black (6 percent), and Asian (4 percent) counterparts. White children were also more likely than their Black, Hispanic, and Asian peers to have smoked cigarettes (14 percent) or used marijuana (8 percent) in the past month, but no measurable differences were detected between American Indian/Alaska Native and White children.

View Table View Table 20a
View Table View Figure 20a

In 2004, 61 percent of all young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported consuming at least one alcoholic drink in the past month. A greater percentage of Whites (68 percent) reported drinking alcohol in the past month than did American Indians/Alaska Natives (56 percent), Blacks (49 percent), Hispanics (48 percent), and Asians (47 percent). American Indian/Alaska Native (50 percent) and White young adults (45 percent) were more likely to have smoked cigarettes in the past month, than were Hispanics (32 percent), Blacks (29 percent), and Asians (25 percent). A higher percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native (24 percent), White (18 percent), and Black young adults (17 percent) reported using marijuana in the past month than did Hispanic (10 percent) and Asian young adults (6 percent).

View Table View Table 20b
View Table View Figure 20b

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27 Many American Indian tribes recognize tobacco as a part of their spiritual and healing practices, thus early exposure to tobacco is likely to occur. American Indians/Alaska Natives on tribal lands are part of sovereign nations not subject to state laws prohibiting the sale and marketing of tobacco products to minors (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1998).

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education