Marywood Associate Professor Publishes Research on Race, Drugs, Violence, and Criminal Justice

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Patrick Seffrin, Ph.D., associate professor of social science, along with his graduate research assistant, Joseph Teeple, recently had an article, titled “Making Drug Use Dangerous for Black Men: Race, Drugs, Violence, and Criminal Justice,” accepted for publication in the journal, Race and Justice. Dr. Seffrin teaches courses in the areas of sociology, criminology, and criminal justice at Marywood University.

This study examined links between drug use, violence, and criminal justice involvement among Black and White men. Differential treatment under the law has historically been the case for African Americans. According to the article abstract, “This study theorized that the War on Drugs, which was waged disproportionately in majority Black communities, had the unintended effect of making drug use riskier for Black men by limiting the supply of drugs to high-risk populations who commit far more serious and violent criminal offenses.”

The study revealed that drug use was found to be less prevalent, overall, for Black men, but its association with violence was greater for Black men than White men. Differential legal treatment for violence and drugs was found to be greater for Black men than White men and had diminishing returns for deterring violence and negative returns for drugs by predicting greater use. Accounting for differential legal treatment did not significantly reduce predicted racial disparities in violence or drug use, and implications of these findings are discussed in the study.