“Last month, President Bush touted the results of a government-sponsored study by the University of Michigan called Monitoring the Future. It reported a broad decline in drug use among young people since 2001. This included a 24 percent drop in the overall use of illicit drugs. There was one exception he said: abuse of painkillers. But, one important metric that wasn’t mentioned, and that stubbornly resisted the downturn, was the use of cocaine.
According to data from the group that produced the report, the percentage of both black and white 12th graders who confessed to using cocaine in the past 30 days has essentially stayed flat since 2001. The major difference is that white usage outweighs black usage 4 to 1.”
Says the redoubtable Charles Blow in an NYT op-ed. No surprise that he should care. After all, here’s his picture:
And this man writes for The Newspaper of Record (!)
(If you take a longer view back to 1991, when cocaine usage bottomed out following the outrageous ’80s, usage among white 12th graders since then has nearly doubled, while usage among black 12th graders has fallen a bit.)
While we turned our attention to pills being swiped from parents’ medicine cabinets, the number of youngsters snorting white lines continued virtually unabated, producing a striking consequence.
According to the most recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, admissions of white teenagers to drug treatment centers for crack and cocaine abuse soared 76 percent from 2001 to 2006. Crack and cocaine was the only illicit drug category in which the number of admissions for white teens grew over this period, and in 2006 the number was at its highest level since these data have been kept. By contrast, admissions among black teens for crack and cocaine over the same period held steady. By 2006, white admissions outnumbered those for blacks by more than 10 to 1. (It should be noted that admissions for white youths abusing painkillers in 2006, while growing, was still less than half the number of admissions for those abusing cocaine that year.)
Easy to see who’s to blame here. It’s Gossip Girl !
Actually it’s Blow who really blows when it comes to blow. For what’s with skipping over “painkillers”? So much in the news coming out of Wasilla lately, they’ve figured prominently in the lives of those many white teenagers (very white teenagers) respect. And I’m not talking Ed Westwick.
a fortiori, need I mention the latest news from Alaska ?
And there are ominous signs. According to the Monitoring the Future study, the risk of using crack and cocaine, as perceived by teenagers, is going down. The newly released 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment puts it this way: “The decrease in perceived risk suggests that adolescents are becoming less wary of trying cocaine, which may sustain demand for the drug in the near future.”
But, in a phone interview, David Murray, chief scientist in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, insisted that there was good news: a sharp rise in the price of cocaine and a drop in its purity since 2006, among other things, have cut into overall usage.
So, I thought, until policy makers put more of a focus on this issue and figure out how to reach these students, should we just hope that teens are too broke for this weak coke? I don’t think so. We need a real strategy, right now.
Or a good stiff drink.
But how do we reach these students? After all if White America fails what will that mean to. . . .
Oh who the fuck cares?
Once again, Nico’s old boytoy will sing us out.