The Issue Of Asian American Drug Use

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The topic of Asian American drug use is one that is rarely seen in the media. Thinking about this topic produced the question, do Asian Americans use substances? Their use of substances is a focus that is under researched. To gain a better understanding of the topic I will research the scope of the problem, use patterns, barriers to treatment, and methods to keep abusers in treatment.
The majority of national studies on drug use often lump Asian Americans into the category of “other” and focus mainly on African Americans, White, and Hispanics. The lack of unspecified studies has led some to believe that there is no drug abuse problem in the Asian American population. In turn, this has perpetuated the stereotype that Asian Americans are a model minority (Moloney, Hunt, & Evans, 2008, p. 377). A model minority is a group “who do not experience problems related to mental health, medical comorbidity, or addictions” (Fong MD & Tsuang MD MS, 2007, p. 52). The reality is, that although the research pool is shallow, substance abuse is present in the Asian American community (Fong MD & Tsuang MD MS, 2007, p. 52).
A survey completed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) in 2000 founded that five percent of the 12 million Asian Americans in the United States had used illegal drugs in the past 12 months. Three percent of those studies were found to meet the criteria for a substance use disorder (Fong MD & Tsuang MD MS, 2007, p. 52). Fong Md and Tsuang MD MS state “There are some unique biopsychosocial aspects of the addictive disorders that impact the Asian American (AAPI) population. In regards to specific data, the most appears to be available in the area of alcohol and much less is available in regards to drugs...

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...ible Barriers to Enrollment in Substance Abuse Treatment among a Diverse Sample of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Opinions of Treatment Clients, 2013, p. 9). Loss of confidentiality pertains to cultural barriers, “AAPIs place a significant emphasis on appearances of normal functioning” (Fong MD & Tsuang MD MS, 2007, p. 56). Asian Americans do not like asking for help, they fear the stigma that will come from it. “AAPI have a holist view of health and oftentimes view mental and addictive disorders as a medical problem, a sign of weakness, or a lack of willpower over Western temptations” (Fong MD & Tsuang MD MS, 2007, p. 56). There are also practical barriers that cause a lack of treatment. Cost of care and deficiency of culturally competent services were listed in a study by Fong and Tsuang (Asian-Americans, Addictions, and Barriers to Treatment, 2007, p. 56).
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