Several research studies have found major racial and ethnic differences among adolescents and adults who use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, and there have been a number of hypotheses that attempt to explain these differences. A recent study, with results published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, examines individual, peer, and family factors that may be associated with substance use and assesses whether these factors differ by racial and ethnic groups. More than 10,000 seventh and eighth grade students participated in the study, which found that Hispanic students reported significantly higher rates of lifetime and past-month use of the substances studied compared to African American, Asian, and Caucasian students. For Hispanic students, individual factors such as perceived peer use were important in affecting substance use, while family and school factors affected use less directly.
Shih, R, Miles JN, Tucker, JS, Zhou, AJ, D’Amico, EJ. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Substance Use: Mediation by Individual, Family, and School Factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2010 Sep: 71(5): 640-51.