Racial/Ethnic Differences of Justice-Involved Youth in Substance-Related Problems and Services Received
This study examined differences in substance-related problems and receipt of substance-specific counseling in 7 different racial/ethnic groups of justice-involved youth. Data came from a nationally representative sample of 7,073 youth in residential placement across 36 states representing 5 program types. Descriptive analyses and regression modeling techniques were used to examine the relationship between race/ethnicity, substance problems, and substance services. Results show that more than 2/3 report a history of at least 1 substance-related problem. Yet, over 12% of youth in residential placement are in programs that do not offer any substance-related services. This has the greatest implications for African American and Hispanic youth, who are most likely to be the programs without these services. Moreover, there are substantive differences in the prevalence of substance problems by race and ethnicity. American Indian/Alaska Natives and multiracial youth were significantly more likely to have substance problems, to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the current offense, go have a history of substance problems and above average mental health need, and to have a history of substance problems and a lifetime suicide attempt compared to African Americans. Asian youth were similar to African Americans and had lower rates of substance problems. Asian youth were also the least likely to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the current offense. This study provides important preliminary findings about Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and multiracial justice-involved youth and adds to the knowledge about American Indian/Alaska Native populations.