Atlanta Youth And Drugs

A look at the drug use in Fulton and DeKalb counties


Teenaged boys were arrested for drug possession 24 times more than their female counterparts in DeKalb county, while in Fulton county, the gap degreases to just 10 males arrested per female. The reckless nature of teenage boys may be the reason for their higher drug use, or it could simply be that girls are much better at hiding their use, and are therefore less likely to be arrested. Overall, 181 juveniles in Fulton and 100 in Dekalb were arrested for drug possession, not including those arrested for possession with intent to sell.


Based on arrest statistics from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the drug most widely used and sold by youth in Fulton and DeKalb is marijuana. The drug with the next highest use in these two counties is cocaine, however the US Department of Justice lists it as seventh of eleven drugs used by teenagers. According to the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign, the most common drugs are found within the home. They say that illegal use of prescription medications is on the rise nationwide, but there were only two arrests in both counties for illegal possession of prescription drugs. The juvenile drug use trends in these two Atlanta counties deviate strongly from the national averages with much higher use of cocaine and significantly lower abuse of prescription drugs.


These drugs aren’t cheap. At $100 per gram of cocaine or ounce of marijuana, buyers need a decent flow of cash to experiment and even more to support a habit. Simply put, teens whose parents make more money can afford more drugs. According to the 2000 US Census, the median per capita income for DeKalb County was around $24,000, and about $30,000 in neighboring Fulton County. There were 1.8 times more arrests for juvenile drug possession in the more affluent Fulton County than DeKalb during the same three-month period.


Certain groups advocate awareness, claiming that adolescents will make the correct decision once they are informed about the dangers of drugs. One approach from England’s The Daily Mail, suggests that parents limit their children’s pocket money to reduce their purchase of drugs. Whatever preferred method parents choose, the first defense is always at home, according to The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Parents should always be on the lookout for signs that their child is using or abusing drugs.