When it Comes to Illegal Drug Use, White America Does the Crime, Black America Gets the Time
White Americans are more likely than black Americans to have used most kinds of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and LSD. Yet blacks are far more likely to go to prison for drug offenses.
This discrepancy forms the backdrop of a new legislative proposal in California, which aims to reduce the disproportionate incarceration of black people in the state. Supporters of the bill, SB 649, point to some striking national data.
Nearly 20 percent of whites have used cocaine, compared with 10 percent of blacks and Latinos, according to a 2011 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — the most recent data available.
Higher percentages of whites have also tried hallucinogens, marijuana, pain relievers like OxyContin, and stimulants like methamphetamine, according to the survey. Crack is more popular among blacks than whites, but not by much.
Still, blacks are arrested for drug possession more than three times as often as whites, according to a 2009 report from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
“When it Comes to Illegal Drug Use, White America Does the Crime, Black America Gets the Time”
By Saki Knafo
The Huffington Post. 17 September 2013