Online Program

Disparities in completion of substance abuse treatment among Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups in Los Angeles (LAC)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Tina Kim, PhD MA, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Alhambra, CA
Benedict Lee, PhD, Emergency Preparedness and Response Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Research focused on substance abuse treatment utilization and outcome for Asian/Pacific Islanders (API) is scarce. Drug problems of the API community have been obscured by the stereotype of the “model minority' and the lack of available data. The limited evidence available indicates that drug use by API groups is increasing. However, there is less information about API clients in drug treatment programs. In addition, most of the available research aggregated API groups into a single category. Information on API groups needs to be disaggregated to develop more culturally appropriate and effective treatment. This study examines substance abuse patterns and disparities in treatment completion among API subgroups in LAC to increase access, and improve effectiveness of substance abuse treatment for API groups. This study analyzed a subset of multicross-sectional data (2005-2010) on API groups collected from publicly funded facilities in LAC (N = 4,341; 54% Southeast Asians, 17% East Asians, 8% Pacific Islanders, 8% Asian Indians, and 13% other Asians). Univariate analysis showed that Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians were less likely to complete treatment and entered treatment at an older age and with lower formal education than other API groups. Methamphetamine was the primary drug problem for Southeast Asians; marijuana for Pacific Islanders; alcohol for East Asians, Asian Indians, and other Asians. Multivariate analysis showed that having mental health issues and reporting high use of drugs at intake were associated with decreased odds of completing treatment among all Asian subgroups. In contrast, age at first drug use and referral monitoring by the criminal system increased the odds of completing treatment for all members.

These findings have implications for targeting interventions for members of different API groups during their first treatment episode. Promising individual and service factors associated with treatment completion can inform the design of culturally appropriate treatment models.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare substance abuse patterns and trends among Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups in Los Angeles County. Identify individual and service-level factors associated with treatment completion among subgroups of first-time Asian and Pacific Islander treatment clients.

Keyword(s): Substance Abuse Treatment, Asian and Pacific Islander

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple research projects focusing on prescription drug abuse in LAC; development of strategic action plan and policy to reduce prescription drug abuse; medical marijuana users in LAC; Racial and ethnic disparities in substance abuse treatment completion; Explore the capacity of substance abuse treatment organizations to implement evidence-based, culturally competent practices in co-occurring disorder treatment, and to assess the impact of effective implementation on Latino treatment outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.