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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 23, 2006

Written by C.N.

Meth Use Increasing Among Asians

The methamphetamine phenomenon, and especially its exploding rates of use and addiction among many Americans — has attracted plenty of news over the past few years. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Asian Americans are not immune from this trend either. New American Media reports on the rise of meth use among Asians in the San Francisco Bay area:

In San Francisco, where Asian-Americans make up at least 33 percent of the population, law enforcement officials agree with Konishita’s frontline assessment that meth use is spreading — largely off the community radar. . . . Stigma has a lot to do with why Asian-American meth use has not yet surfaced as a pressing problem, either in public debate or in the Asian language media.

Another reason for its low profile is that, unlike other illicit drugs, young people are not the primary users. “Young people still prefer alcohol, weed and cigarettes, though overall meth use in this group is rising,” says David Mineta, associate director of Asian American Recovery Services. “It’s older people who are more inclined to use meth.”

And it isn’t just men who are using. Almost 50 percent of Konishita’s intake patients at AARS have been women in the last year. “Some women use meth to control their weight. At home there’s pressure from the family to succeed, to be beautiful, to be thin,” says Denise Villegas, a case worker for AARS in Daly City.

Earlier, I wrote about Asian Americans being affected by the growing meth problem from the other side of the table — Asian Indian convenience store owners unfairly targeted by police for allegedly selling cold medicine containing ephedrine to customers knowing that they would use it to make meth. Now we see another side of the picture.

Although the article does not provide any statistics, I think we can be reasonably certain that meth use is indeed on the rise among Asian Americans all across the country. With this in mind, thankfully there are some culturally-competent treatment centers out there like Asian American Recovery Services.

As a society, we certainly need to address the meth problem from all directions, whether they be regulating supplies in a fair way, arrests and punishment, and treatment. Hopefully these treatment centers will continue to receive the funding they need to continue their work, rather than being seen as unnecessary or too narrowly-focused by short-sighted politicians.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Meth Use Increasing Among Asians" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/07/meth-use-increasing-among-asians/> ().

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