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The economic and social consequences of untreated (or under-treated) substance abuse among minors are significant. This report provides a racial impact analysis of HB 1075/SB 201, legislation approved in the 2012 General Assembly session that seeks to improve access and use of substance and alcohol services by minors. In short, this policy could go a long way to ensure that families are properly educated about these life-changing (and life-saving) programs; however our analysis raises concerns related to cultural competency that may serve to undermine the legislation’s goal. Virginia is incredibly diverse and its communities vary widely with its assets and risks. In this vein, we offer concrete recommendations to maximize the policy’s racial equity. Our analysis also sheds light on the ongoing challenge Virginia’s state agencies have had to address cultural competency within its services. Additional research is necessary to determine what service gaps may exist, which would increase or decrease the racial equity impact. By answering these questions, Virginia will be better prepared to further reduce alcohol and substance abuse by all minors.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications