01:07am Tuesday 19 November 2019

Nationwide Study Shows Substantial Differences in Adult Substance Use Rates among Various Asian-American Groups

Similarly the level of past month illicit drug use among Japanese-American adults is nearly three times higher than the level among Asian Indian-American adults (6.2 percent versus 2.1 percent).

The study also shows that Asian-American adults born in the U.S. have much higher substance use rates than Asian-American adults born outside the U.S. For example, the past month binge drinking level among U.S. born Asian-American adults is nearly double that of their foreign born counterparts (22.0 percent versus 11.1 percent), and the past month illicit drug use level among U.S. born Asian-American adults is nearly triple the rate found among foreign born Asian-American adults (7.3 percent versus 2.5 percent). Although U.S. born adult Asian-Americans tend to be younger than those born outside the U.S., the higher rate for U.S. born Asian-American adults generally holds regardless of age.
The study shows that Asian-American adults overall have far lower rates of alcohol, binge drinking and illicit drug use than the national average. For example:
  • Past month alcohol use among Asian-American adults is 39.8 percent versus a national average of 55.2 percent
  • Past month binge drinking among Asian-American adults is 13.2 percent versus a national average of 24.5 percent
  • Past month illicit drug use among Asian-American adults is 3.4 percent versus a national average of 7.9 percent
Moreover, Asian-American adults have half the rate of past year need for substance use treatment as the national average (4.8 percent versus 9.6 percent).
“This study highlights that although the Asian-American adult community as a whole has a lower level of substance use than the national average, each of the many distinct populations within it have their own unique challenges and needs, said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Understanding the diverse needs of this diverse community helps us improve our prevention and treatment strategies.”
The study was developed as part of the agency’s strategic initiative on prevention of substance abuse and mental illness. It is one in a series of studies designed to provide more detailed information on substance abuse patterns and treatment needs existing within a wide range of minority groups.
Substance Use among Asian Adults is based on data drawn from the 2004 to 2008 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, involving responses from 227,791 persons aged 18 or older, including 7,629 Asian-American adults. The full report is available on line at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/179/SUAsianAdults.cfm. Copies may also be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). For related publications and information, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/.
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

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