March 28, 2006

Boston stats explode another racial myth.

You know, the one about how drug addiction is something that happens in 'the ghetto' among 'those people.' And how, since 'those people' have so little self-control and respect for the law, they 'deserve' whatever bad stuff life dishes out to them.

New statistics show that, at least in Boston, the racists don't have the numbers to back them up. According to the city's health commission, three out of four people who died from drug overdoses in the past five years were white, even though whites make up only half of the city's population. That proportion held up over the full five years that were studied.

The figures show the deadly grip of heroin, OxyContin, and other drugs tightening in Boston, where 50 percent more residents died from drugs in 2003 than in 1999, the time period covered by the study. Of the 145 drug-related deaths in 2003, most from overdoses, 94 of victims were white, 32 black, and 19 Hispanic....

Drug counselors confirmed the city's findings on racial differences in mortality rates, part of an exhaustive annual report on the health of Bostonians. For example, among the 1,000 people treated in 2004 by Victory Programs Inc., a network of 18 residential treatment centers in Boston, 62 percent were white, 22 percent were black, and 11 percent were Hispanic, officials there said.

This magpie would love to see figures for other US cities. I bet the trends are similar.

Via Boston Globe.

Posted by Magpie at March 28, 2006 01:15 PM | Race | Technorati links |

This magpie would love to see figures for other US cities. I bet the trends are similar.

Yeah, right. The reason why there is so much concern over black drug use is because of its connection to violent crime. Whites are less likely than blacks to commit violent crime and so their drug use is not as serious.

Posted by: Ahrimahn at March 28, 2006 01:32 PM

Important points:

(1) The prevalence of imprisonment in 2001 was higher for
-- black males (16.6%) and Hispanic males (7.7%) than for white males (2.6%)
-- black females (1.7%) and Hispanic females (0.7%) than white females (0.3%)

(2) Lifetime chances of a person going to prison are higher for
-- men (11.3%) than for women (1.8%)
-- blacks (18.6%) and Hispanics (10%) than for whites (3.4%)

(3) Based on current rates of first incarceration, an estimated 32% of black males will enter State or Federal prison during their lifetime, compared to 17% of Hispanic males and 5.9% of white males

(4) Sixty-four percent of prison inmates belonged to racial or ethnic minorities in 2001

(5) An estimated 40% of jail inmates were black; 19%, Hispanic, 1% American Indian; 1% Asian; and 3% of more than one race/ethnicity

Posted by: Ahrimahn at March 28, 2006 01:39 PM

Just to kind of play devil's advocate, the heroin problem in Boston is HUGE amung the city's goth and punk youth population (few of which are non-white, myself excluded). In the few years I lived there I knew many, many junkies, many of which died.

It also supports a large 'gutter punk' population, being easier to live homeless in than say, New York city and having so many colleges and universities, there are plenty of rich kids to provide plenty of 'crash-pads.'

Because of the herion problem there, it may not be the best city to look as to compare statistics on.

Not that the conclusion you're drawing isn't probably true. Just that Boston's nature might make it seem more extreme than it is.

Posted by: plucky punk at March 28, 2006 01:51 PM

ahrimahn: all your stats show is that blacks are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and imprisoned than whites — not the the prevalence of any particular type of crime. and, *especially* not a racial predisposition on the part of blacks toward committing crimes, as you're implying. if you want to make racist assertions, at least understand your statistics properly.

plucky punk: you make an interesting point, and i suspect that the stuff you're pointing to has some effect on boston's stats. however, i doubt that those factors make boston's statistics much different from, say, seattle. the overall finding of the study that the myth that drug abuse is a 'black problem' or a 'brown problem' is not based in fact still stands.

Posted by: magpie at March 28, 2006 02:28 PM

I agree. It always seemed to me that drug abuse was more of a white problem, even specifically a 'rich white kid' problem, because they're the ones who could afford the drugs in the first place.

Posted by: plucky punk at March 28, 2006 04:55 PM