Rebecca J. Evans-Polce, post-doctoral fellow at Bennett Pierce Prevention Center, and her colleagues have recently published a report in Addictive Behaviors focused upon gender and race and their effects on drug and alcohol use. The findings of the study explain that that race and gender do correlate with specific substance abuse habits. For example, cigarette use in teens is much higher for white teenagers than black or Hispanic teengers. In their 20s, however, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to take up smoking cigarettes, while use for whites decreases at this age. Alcohol and marijuana use prove more prevalent in white teens than black or Hispanic teens. When it comes to gender, alcohol use is more popular with males than females, while marijuana and cigarette smoking are fairly equal between genders.

Evans-Polce explains the implications of the study:

“This research is important for targeting interventions for substance use at the right ages and for the right socio-demographic groups. In order to better understand why these disparities in substance use behavior exist, we need to look at how risk and protective factors for substance use change as individuals age and for different racial/ethnic and gender groups.”

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