It is quite evident that from a general perspective, the number of adolescents who engage in the consumption of alcohol and or illicit drugs has considerably reduced over the past 6 years (Healthy People.gov, 2016). The adolescent population that is described in the health indicator of substance abuse refers to individuals between the ages of 12 to 17 years (Healthy People.gov, 2016). The overall decrease in the use of illicit drugs and alcohol for the population has declined by about 13% between 2008 and 2014 (Healthy People.gov, 2016). The rates have however increased for the adolescents between the ages of 16 and 17 years, more so among the African American population in New York City (NYC) (Drug War Facts, 2016). This makes the population of African American adolescents between the ages of 16 and 17 years a significant target population when it comes to investigations of alcohol and or illicit drug use (Khan, Cleland, Scheidell, & Berger, 2014).
New York City is a metropolitan area having diverse cultures and population. Several studies indicate that the different populations in the region are affected differently by different health factors and indicators (Khan, Cleland, Scheidell, & Berger, 2014). The most vulnerable populations when it comes to the use of illicit drugs and alcohol among adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years include Hispanics and African Americans (Khan, Cleland, Scheidell, & Berger, 2014). It is estimated that in NYC, an average of 36% of white males have ever used marijuana as an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime when they are aged between 12 and 17 years (Drug War Facts, 2016). For the African Americans, the percentage is at 48.5%. An average of 8.8% of African Americans aged between 16 and 17 years in New York City are current illicit drug users. This is higher than the national rate which is at 5% (Drug War Facts, 2016). Some of the commonly abused illicit drugs by the population include marijuana, psychotherapeutic drugs and hallucinogens. The use of heroin and cocaine among the population is limited, at about 0.2% (Drug War Facts, 2016).
The most effective strategy of reducing alcohol and illicit drug abuse among the target population is through the introduction of educative programs on all public schools in the NYC region. An average of 80% of the African American adolescents aged between 16 and 17 years attend or were attending high school (Khan, Cleland, Scheidell, & Berger, 2014). This means that the introduction of the educative programs that sensitize against the use of the drugs and alcohol are likely to result in reduced rate of alcohol and illicit drug use among the population.
- Drug War Facts. (2016). Adolescents. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from www.drugwarfacts.org: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Adolescents#sthash.w5mONjWV.dpbs
- Healthy People.gov. (2016). Substance Abuse. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from www.healthypeople.gov: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Substance-Abuse/data
- Khan, M. R., Cleland, C. M., Scheidell, J. D., & Berger, A. T. (2014). Gender and racial/ethnic differences in patterns of adolescent alcohol use and associations with adolescent and adult illicit drug use. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse. Vol. 40 Issue 3 , p213-224. 12p. DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2014.892950.