African-American Youth Targeted despite Lower Usage Rates

Article excerpt

A new media campaign has been unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., which is aimed at African-American youth in 14 target cities nationwide. The campaign will highlight the positive efforts and promising results from two independent studies involving African-American youth.

The project, entitled "By Our Own Hand," was announced in Atlanta, one of the fourteen target cities, by Secretary Sullivan. The new campaign will actually be a partnership, reinforcing the prevention objectives in the President's National Drug Control Strategy by promoting positive messages to the inner-city youth who are at risk for drug use.

"Even before the recent disturbances in Los Angeles and many other across the United States, we recognized that the time has come to put an end to misconceptions about the extent of drug use among black youth," Secretary Sullivan said. "Our studies show that contrary to many misconceptions, these youngsters are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs than are kids from other ethnic groups. We need to make the facts knwon, and for black communities, we need to build on these strenghts."

Two recent studies have indicated a decline in drug use by African-American youth. The National High School Senior Surveys for 1985 to 1989 shows that 88.3 percent of white males had used alcohol in the past year, but only 72.5 percent of African-American males had done so. As for cocaine use, 12 percent of white male seniors had used the drug, compared with 6.1 percent of African-American male seniors. Marijuana use was also less for African-American youth. White male seniors had a 40 percent rate of usage, compared with 29. …