Study says white teenagers are twice likely to consume hard drugs than minorities


Representational image (iStock)
Representational image (iStock)

A NEW study has revealed that white teenagers are twice as likely to have taken hard drugs compared to ethnic minorities, and are three times more likely to report binge drinking-drinking five or more drinks at a time.

The study by the University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Longitudinal Studies analysed behaviours of Generation Z and found one in ten teenagers had tried hard drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine, by the age of 17, reported The Telegraph.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) had tried cannabis, it said.

According to the study, white teenagers were twice as likely to report taking harder drugs (11 per cent vs 5 per cent) and almost three times more likely to report binge drinking than ethnic minority teenagers (59 per cent vs 21 per cent).

Experts analysed data from nearly 10,000 individuals across the UK in the Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative study of teenagers born around 2000.

When participants were 17 years old in 2018-19, they were asked questions about drug taking, binge drinking and smoking, as well as assault, shoplifting and vandalism, The Telegraph report said.

“It is an “established pattern” that ethnic minorities are less likely to engage in binge drinking and drug taking compared to their white peers. My guess would be that cultural factors and religious factors would be big, particularly for some religions when it comes to alcohol,” Dr Aase Villadsen, co-author of the study, told The Telegraph. 

“And some parents of some ethnic minorities might be more strict with the kids in terms of their movements and going out and spending time with friends… that’s quite an established pattern and we shouldn’t be surprised to see that.”

The study also suggests that rates of drug use remained similar among 17-year-olds regardless of their parents’ educational backgrounds.

Teenagers whose parents were highly educated, holding at least a degree, were more likely to engage in binge drinking than those whose parents had lower level qualifications (59 per cent vs 50 per cent).

Overall, more than half (53 per cent) of young people had engaged in binge drinking and 9 per cent had done this on 10 or more occasions in the past year, the report said.

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