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The objective of the study was to examine the association between lifetime arrest and marijuana-related first arrest with past-year suicide ideation among Black and White people. We used data from Wave-IV (2008–2009; N = 5114) of the publicly available National Adolescent Health Study (Add Health) data. A total of 4313 Non-Hispanic Black and White participants were selected for this study. Logistic regression was used to assess whether lifetime arrest and marijuana-related arrests were associated with past year suicide. Overall, 28.8% of the sample reported lifetime arrest, 6.3% reported lifetime suicide ideation, and 3.7% reported marijuana-related arrest. A significantly higher percentage of Black people (32.3%) in comparison to White people (27.4%) reported lifetime arrest (χ2 = 9.91; p < 0.001; df = 1). Among Black people, lifetime arrest (AOR = 2.98; 95% CI, 1.66–5.35; p < 0.001) and marijuana-related arrest (AOR = 4.09; 95% CI, 1.47–11.35; p < 0.001) were both associated with lifetime suicide ideation. Given the rate of death by suicide among Black people has been rising for two decades, further efforts are needed to educate and inform key stakeholders including law enforcement and policymakers regarding racial disparities in arrests, which may contribute to reducing risk for death by suicide among Black people.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License