#Hispanic middle-schoolers have higher rates of substance use in CA

(Los Angeles Times) A survey of students at 16 California middle schools shows Hispanic kids are more likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana than their peers in other ethnic or racial groups. In probing for the reasons for substance use, researchers found that Hispanic youths may lack confidence in their ability to say “no” to peers.

The study, conducted by Regina A. Shih and her colleagues at Rand Corp., was comprised of 5,500 seventh- and eighth-grade students who were surveyed about their drug use and factors influencing drug use. Overall, 22% of the students said they had ever used alcohol, 10% said they had smoked at some point and 7% admitted to smoking marijuana. But Hispanic youths were more likely to have used these substances compared with other groups. Among Hispanic students, 26% had tried alcohol, 12% had smoked cigarettes and 9% used marijuana.

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