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Kilpatrick's comments on drug use in Oakland tick off Patterson
Oakland Co. exec demands apology
September 16, 2005
BY JOE SWICKARD FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is demanding an apology from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick after Kilpatrick's comment Thursday that suburban schoolkids are using more LSD, ecstasy and methamphetamines than young Detroiters.
During a debate with mayoral challenger Freman Hendrix, Kilpatrick said: "In Birmingham, in Bloomfield Hills and all these places, they do more meth, they do more ecstasy and they do more acid than all the schools in the city of Detroit put together."
After the debate, Kilpatrick said he was not being divisive: "I merely wanted to point out to everybody that this is a problem everywhere. Children are depressed in Macomb County just like in Detroit. Children are using drugs in Oakland County just like in Detroit. And we can't continue to keep doing this 'us versus them' and 'those people down there.' "
That did not satisfy Patterson, who has scheduled a news conference for this morning to demand an apology: "He's the one who just did the us-versus-them thing," he said.
Drug abuse experts said Kilpatrick is probably right about suburban schoolkids using those drugs more often, but it makes little difference.
"City or suburb, bottom line -- there's abuse everywhere," said Susan Hiltz, executive director of PREVCO, an anti-drug abuse coalition. "It just looks different in different communities."
Hiltz and others dealing with young people's illicit drug use said the drugs of choice may differ from community to community, but the problem crosses racial and ethnic lines as easily as it does 8 Mile.
"It may be a 40-ounce in the city and a wine cooler in the suburb, but both communities need help," Hiltz said.
Lisa Machesky of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a group that addresses a variety of youth issues, said a recent survey of high schoolers in those cities showed their drug use was in line with national use, as shown in the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future annual drug-use study.
The 2004 national survey showed that 3.1% of white 10th-graders had used ecstasy in the past 12 months, compared with 0.9% of black 10th-graders. The figures were about the same for methamphetamine use. The study found that 1.9% of white 10th-graders had taken LSD in the past year, compared with 0.4% of black 10th-graders.
Alcohol and marijuana use was much higher for both groups. Among white 10th-graders, 37.8% had used alcohol in the previous 30 days, and 28.2% had smoked marijuana in the past 12 months. Among black 10th-graders, the rates were 24.6% for alcohol and 27% for marijuana.
"Any drug use is too much," Machesky said.
Blake Angove, an outpatient therapist at the Maplegrove Center in West Bloomfield, said the mayor's comments are not far off base, but the different drug use appears to be a general matter of taste.
Angove said he sees little methamphetamine use, but suburban kids do use more related drugs, such as Ritalin. Ecstasy use is declining, he said, and LSD use is not widespread in the suburbs.
But, he said, alcohol and marijuana use transcends city-suburb divisions: "It's across the board."
Carl Taylor, a Michigan State University professor of sociology, said trying to dice the situation along city-suburban borders "loses sight of the larger issue: Kids are in trouble everywhere."