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substance Abuse Studies & Reports – Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Joe, K. A. (1996). The Lives and Times of Asian-Pacific American Women Drug Users: An Ethnographic Study of Their Methamphetamine Use. Journal of Drug Issues26(1): 199-218.

Although Asian-Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) have a long history in American society and represent the fastest growing minority group, they remain a relatively unknown and obscure population. While ethnic myths about Asian women continue to persist, the complexities of the lives of APIA women remain a mystery. This article represents the first ethnographic account of APIA women drug users, and specifically explores their onset and patterns of drug use and coping strategies in relation to the competing cultural claims on their lives.

Availability: Journal of Drug Issues, P.O. Box 4021, Tallahassee, FL 32303

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug Abuse Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities.

The purpose of this valuable report is to provide policymakers, program leaders and staff, health administrators, scientists, and others with information that may help them understand the nature and extent of illegal drug use, associated behaviors, and problems that now affect our Nation's racial/ethnic minority populations and the current non-Hispanic White majority population. Its content has been culled from the best and most recent reports on these topics.

Download the report here.

Kwon, H. T., Wang, Q. W., & Valmidiano, L. L. (2005). Risk Behaviors Associated with Cigarette Use Among Asian American Adolescents. The International Electronic Journal of Health Education8: 11-17.

Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States. This study examined the association between several common youth risk behaviors, including cigarette use among Asian American adolescents, using data (N=408) from the 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The weighted univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed with Survey Data Analysis (SUDAAN) to adjust the standard error estimate of the multistage sampling. The main outcome variable was cigarette smoking behavior (past 30 days), reported as a binary (dichotomous) variable. The significant predictors from the univariate model were alcohol use, marijuana use, academic grades, multiple sex partners, and weight (p<.01). The multivariate logistic regression revealed that Asian American adolescents who engaged in alcohol use (OR=10.43, 95% CI=5.02, 21.68), used marijuana (OR=4.90, 95% CI=1.91, 12.59), and had mostly C or lower academic grades (OR=5.86, 95% CI=2.66, 12.90) were more likely to report cigarette use. Common risk factors and adolescent behaviors play a role in cigarette use, and this information can be applied in developing health education programs for Asian American high school students.

A copy of the study is available at the NAPAFASA resource library.

Sakai, J. (2005). Asians in the United States: Substance Dependence and Use of Substance-Dependence Treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment,29.

Clinicians have often observed that Asians are unlikely to utilize substance-dependence treatment services but few have reported empirical data examining this phenomenon. This study used data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 2000-2002, and tested whether Asians in the United States have relatively low rates of drug and alcohol dependence and whether substance-dependent Asians use treatment services less than Caucasians. Subsequent analyses were undertaken to identify factors that explained these racial differences. Of the 5,118 Asians, 159 met criteria for past-year drug or alcohol dependence. Asians with past-year substance dependence were significantly less likely than substance-dependent Caucasians to report past-year treatment (odds ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.19-0.96). Differences in past-year substance-dependence prevalence appear to be partially explained by between-group differences in ever using substances; differences in past-year treatment use appear to be in part related to differences in levels of acculturation and education.

A copy of the complete article is available at the NAPAFASA resource library.

Asians and Pacific Islanders in substance abuse treatment. (2005, June 10).The DASIS Report.

This report details API admissions into substance abuse treatment programs in 2002. Data on primary substance abused, route of substance abuse administration, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics are included. Data on API subgroups are not included.

Some main findings include:

  • "Asian/Pacific Islander admissions were more likely than all other admissions to go into treatment for either marijuana or methamphetamine/amphetamine."
  • "The mean age of admissions was slightly younger for API admissions (30 years old) compared to all other admission (34 years old)."
  • "Just over one third (38%) of API admissions had no health insurance compared to almost two thirds (61%) of all other admissions."

This publication is available online at www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k5/AsianTX/AsianTX.htm. Available at the Los Angeles office NAPAFASA resource library.

Wong, M. M., Klingle, R. S., & Price, R. K. (2004). Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use among Asian American and Pacific Islander Adolescents in California and Hawaii. Addictive Behaviors29(1): 127-141.

As an aggregate group, the lowest rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use are often reported for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), compared to other groups. However, the low rates are often based upon samples with small numbers of AAPIs or samples including only one or two AAPI groups. Consequently, reliable data on the rates of ATOD use among specific AAPI subgroups are severely lacking.

This article used data from school surveys collected from 9th grade students in California and 10th grade students in Hawaii and compared the ATOD rates of Whites, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian adolescents. Considerable variation in ATOD rates among subgroups of AAPIs was consistently found across the surveys. The article discusses the implications for these findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.

The abstract and full text of this article is available here.

Price, R. K., Risk, N., Wong, M., & Klingle, R. S. (2002). Substance Use and Abuse by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Preliminary Results From Four National Epidemiologic Studies. Public Health Reports117.

Provides an analysis of four recent large national surveys to assess the degree of use and abuse of a wide range of psychoactive substances among subgroups of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and in comparison with whites.

Subscriptions to Public Health Reports* can be made online at phr.oupjournals.org or at the Elservier website here. Available at the Los Angeles office NAPAFASA resource library.

Asians and Pacific Islanders in Substance Abuse Treatment: 1999. (2002, August 16). The DASIS Report.

This report details API admissions into substance abuse treatment programs between 1994 and 1999. Data is disagreggated by age, gender, referral source, and primary substance abused. Data on API subgroups are not included.

This publication is available online at www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k2/AsiansallTX/AsiansallTX.cfm. Available at the Los Angeles office NAPAFASA resource library.