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Substance Use Awareness for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., Asian Americans have made multiple advancements in the U.S., and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates those achievements. However, this minority group faces other challenges that can lead to difficulties.

Although Asian Americans have a lower percentage of substance use disorders than other minority groups in the U.S., the percentages of Asian Americans with addictions to drugs or alcohol are increasing as they become integrated into the U.S.

History of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May has been Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month since 1990 when President George Bush signed a bill that extended the weeklong celebration into a month. Members of the House of Representatives suggested May as the designated month for Asian Americans because it was when the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the U.S. and the first transcontinental railroad was completed thanks to Chinese laborers.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes the most diverse minority population in the U.S. that continues to grow. The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) are two major groups that spread awareness regarding the influences of Asian American culture, achievements and history in the U.S.

Different Asian American Groups

As a group, Asian Americans include a variety of ethnicities, such as people who identify as:

  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Cambodian
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Hawaiian
  • Thai
  • Indonesian
  • Laotian

Contributing Factors to Asian Americans and Alcoholism

While Asian Americans have a lower rate of substance use than other minority groups in the U.S., exposure to substance use disorders is causing the rates of Asians and alcohol addictions to increase. There are a variety of stressors people who identify as Asian American experience that may contribute to the increasing rates of substance use. Some of these factors include:

  • High expectations
  • Low-income living
  • Poor mental health

The odds of someone who identifies as an Asian American developing a substance use disorder increase depending on whether they are refugees or born in the U.S. Asian Americans born in the U.S. are more prone to developing an addiction.

Alcohol and Drug Use Among Asian Americans

Because of Asian American assimilation into the U.S., future generations are at an increased risk for developing a drug or alcohol addiction. Asian American drug use often involves tobacco use, as certain subgroups are at a higher risk for lung cancer.

While Asian Americans have lower rates of alcoholism, the percentage of Asian Americans who drink has significantly increasedJapanese-Americans have the highest binge drinking habits among Asian Americans, but other groups are also experiencing drinking rate increases.

Treatment Obstacles for Asian Americans

If someone in the Asian American community is experiencing a substance use disorder, it may be more difficult for them to find professional treatment. Unlike other minority groups, Asian Americans have a set of unique obstacles that make finding treatment challenging. In addition to addiction being viewed as shameful in Asian American culture, there are other obstacles they must face, such as:

  • Not understanding their treatment options
  • Lacking familial support
  • Facing a language barrier

These challenges, along with the stigma of addiction in the community, could stop someone suffering from a substance use disorder from getting the treatment they need. However, if you’re part of the Asian American community and have an addiction, there are a variety of treatment options you can use to receive the help you need.

Even if you have to overcome specific challenges to seek help, you can find a rehabilitation facility that provides effective treatment plans. At Gateway Foundation, we make you as comfortable as possible when taking the first steps to begin your sober life.

Contact Gateway Foundation for Supportive and Individualized Treatment

We understand how to make you as comfortable as possible on your journey to recovery. We have been providing effective, evidence-based treatment plans for over 50 years, and our compassionate team of medical professionals will support you throughout your treatment.

We also provide a variety of therapies to give you the tools you need to live a sober life. To learn more about our individualized treatment plans, contact us today and begin your journey to recovery.

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