Tri-Ethnic Center

College of Natural Sciences

How do American Indian 4th-6th grade drug use compare to non-Indian use?

Drug use rates for marijuana, inhalants, and drunkenness using a national sample of 4th 6th grade youth were compared with rates from American Indian 4th 6th graders who live on or near reservations. The data show higher rates of substance use among AI 4th 6th for marijuana and drunkenness, but not for inhalants.

Last month use rates for drunkenness for AI youth were several times higher than for the non-Indian sample. However, marijuana use rates for the American Indian sample were five to 10 times higher than for the non-Indian sample. Last month use rates for 4th - 6th grade AI youth ranged from 5% to 13% in the years 1993-2004 while last year use rates ranged from 8% to 19%. For non-Indian youth, last month marijuana use rates were approximately 1% while last year rates were 2-3%. On the other hand, inhalant use rates for last month use and last year use were very similar in the two samples.


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Miller K.A., Beauvais F., Burnside M., & Jumper-Thurman P. (2008).   A comparison of American Indian and non-Indian fourth to sixth graders' rates of drug use. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 7(3), 258-267.