Adolescent substance use and other illegal behaviors and racial disparities in criminal justice system involvement: findings from a US national survey

Am J Public Health. 2012 Jul;102(7):1307-10. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300699. Epub 2012 May 17.


We used data from a national survey to examine arrest rate disparities between African American and White adolescents (aged 12-17 years; n=6725) in relation to drug-related and other illegal behaviors. African American adolescents were less likely than Whites to have engaged in drug use or drug selling, but were more likely to have been arrested. Racial disparities in adolescent arrest appear to result from differential treatment of minority youths and to have long-term negative effects on the lives of affected African American youths.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Criminal Law / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Healthcare Disparities* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data