Drug Usage as a Multicultural Issue Term Paper

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Drug Abuse

The subject of drug usage is an issue that has plagued people all over the world for many years. Indeed, the issue of drug usage is multicultural and pervades many different people groups. The purpose of this discussion is to focus on the drug usage as a multicultural issue. This discussion will focus on a report published by the National Institutes of Health. In addition, we will review the findings of a study published in Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling.

Drug Usage as a Multicultural Issue

It is certainly true that no segment of the population that is not adverse effected by Drug Abuse. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Drug abuse is a persistent problem. The NIH explains that drug abuse cost society nearly $100 billiion in 1992. (Costs to Society) the article explains that this amount includes the cost of drug treatment, lost earnings and medical costs. In addition, over 50% of the costs was calculated as a percentage of drug related crimes (Costs to Society).

The National Institutes of Health also reports drug use among racial and ethnic minorities. According to their report entitled Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities, drug abuse has fostered a great deal of federal attention.

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After the Second World War, medical, nonmedical, and extramedical domestic use of legitimate pharmaceutical products increased. These products, available over the counter or by prescription, included over-the-counter benzedrine inhalers and amphetaminecontaining diet pills, as well as over-the-counter and prescription sedative (calming) and hypnotic (sleepenhancing) medicines containing barbiturates and newer synthetic drugs. There was no assertion of a strong association linking use of these drugs to racial/ethnic minorities. Sustained problems associated with extramedical use of these drugs and concerns about potentially burgeoning use of heroin, marijuana, and LSD fostered a renewal of Federal interest." (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Drug Usage as a Multicultural Issue Assignment

The report discusses drug usage statistics among Native Americans/Alaskans, African-American, Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders. The institution reports that the Native American group had a high percentage of individuals that abuse both drugs and alcohol. (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)the report asserts that Drug and alcohol abuse among Native Americans is higher than most other ethnic minorities. The report explains that the overall percentage of Americans older than 12 who use illegal drugs is 6%. However, for the Native American population the percentage of illegal drug users over 12 is 12.6%.. (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003) the report asserts that Native American juveniles use cocaine, marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol at two or more times the observed values for Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites and African-Americans (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The report also explains that in a recent study of young adolescents in North Carolina, cumulative occurrence of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drug use among American Indians exceeded the occurrence rates observed for non-Hispanic White and African-American groups (Federman et al.,1997). According to the national MTF study, by 12th grade an estimated 40 to 52% of American Indian/Alaska Native students smoke tobacco. Corresponding values for African-American students range from 10 to 20% (Bachman et al. 2001; Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)."

The report also explains that the disfranchisement of Native Americans has contributed to increases in drug and alcohol abuse (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). Their tumultuous past and the current poverty that plagues the Native American community make increased drug abuse likely. Some preventative measures have been established in an effort to reduce drug abuse in Native American communities.

For Asian Pacific Islanders drug use is also a problem. The report explains that this people group is a heterogeneous mixture of 60 different ethnic groups and subgroups (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The report asserts that among Asian/Pacific Islanders in Saipan and Guam methamphetamine use has been a serious concern (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The report explains that during the 1980's and 1990's methamphetamine use in the form an ice smoking became a serious problem for these people groups. However, it never became a serious health threat (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003).

The NIH explains that the consumption of betel nut has also been popular for decades in the regions of Palau, and other parts of western Micronesia (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003).

The report contends that in recent years the consumption of this drug has created a public health concern. The report contends that when drug use statistics are place in a single category Asian/Pacific Islanders had the fastest growing drug use rates among all minority groups (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003).

The report explains that currently Philippino, and Korean refugee groups are the fastest growing sector of the Asian/Pacific Islanders. The report explains that this population increase will change the appearance of drug abuse statistics (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). Drug use among Asian/Pacific Islanders over the age of 12 is 2.7%; compared the national average of 6%. However, among Korean-Americans the percentage is about 6.9% (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The lower levels of drug consumption among this group is attributed to familial bonds and expectations. In addition, this people group tends to use natural less harmful drugs such as the Betel Nut as oppose to harder drugs.

Amongst African-Americans, the report explains that the group is also heterogeneous and consists of individuals as diverse as Ethiopians and those from the Caribbean (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The report explains that while drug trafficking continues to be a problem is African-American communities, drug abuse among African-Americans is lower than that of Whites (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). The report explains,

By comparison, African-American high-school seniors consistently have been found to have lower estimates than White high-school seniors for prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. This finding also is true among African-American youth in lower grades, where less dropping out has occurred. Some studies have given an impression that African-Americans who use alcohol and other drugs experience higher rates of drug-related health problems than do users from other ethnic groups (e.g., see Herd 1989)...There is some reason to believe that general impressions about African-Americans and drug problems are based on partial evidence, traced back to racial profiling andother administrative practices that lead to overrepresentation of African-Americans in criminal justice statistics and in public drug treatment programs where admissions draw heavily on referrals from the courts (e.g., see Blumstein and Beck 1999). Concern also has been expressed that African-American youth might be less willing to participate in surveys and less likely to provide accurate information about their drug-using histories (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)."

Amongst the Hispanic population, the report explains that heterogeneity is also a factor. As we all know Hispanic people come from many different countries including Puerto Rico, Columbia, and the Dominican republic to name a few. The report asserts that among Hispanics Drug abuse is most prevalent amongst Puerto Rican 12 and older (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). This percentage is a little over 10% (compared to that national average of 6%. The study also found that "Cuban Americans were less likely to be illegal drug users (3.7%) (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)."

The report also contends that Mexican and Puerto Rican youths were more likely to abuse drugs if they lived in households headed by females (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003). In addition, the NIH reports that Studies of young people indicate a tendency toward higher prevalence of several forms of drug involvement among Hispanic adolescents than among their counterparts in the non-Hispanic African-American and White segments of the population. Stresses associated with what often are more constrained economic conditions, combined with lower educational attainment, a generally higher degree of drug availability, and the possible impact of racism on self-esteem are believed to make Hispanics particularly vulnerable to alcohol and other drug use and associated problems (Drug Use Among Ethnic Minorities 2003)."

According to an article found in the Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, Whites also have issues with drug abuse. The article reports the Heroin Use among Black, White and Hispanic Southern Arrestees. The article reports that Heroine is an extremely addictive drug and that the abuse of such a drug can mark rapid increases in health problems for addicts (Baumler et al. 2002). The article explains that abuse of the drug can contribute to high blood pressure, vision impairment, and kidney and respiratory disease (Baumler et al. 2002).

The study was composed of arrestees from Birmingham, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Dallas, and San Antonio. Participants were surveyed between 1990 and 1997. The results found that while heroin use was more prevalent amongst Hispanic arrestees, Whites arrestees also consumed heroine. The article also asserts that heroin addiction older arrestees consistently had higher rates of heroin use when compared with younger cohorts. This variation in age of use suggested that heroin may be used by arrestees as a drug of maintenance rather than as a drug of experimentation; that is, older arrestees, who may have first… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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