More Asian Drug Users in Queens Schools
The World Journal
February 6, 2003
A recent finding by the Asian Mental Health Program
at the Queens Children's Psychiatric Center showed that, in 35 elementary
and middle schools in Queens, more Asian students have used drugs,
including marijuana and that the number is on the rise.
Among them, 9th graders
seem to be the group at the highest risk of drug use.
Several Chinese social-workers at the center called on Chinese
parents to pay attention not only to their children's schoolwork
but also their behavior at home.
Chai-suei Lin, a senior social worker
at the center, said most Chinese parents put a lot of emphasis on
the children's studies, but would tend to lose focus once their
children make it into good middle or high schools.
Lin said that school-aged children go into a "rebellious
stage" of their lives between 12 and 17 when they start to
get curious about new and exciting things and may go astray if neglected
by their parents.
Chih-Chie Ho, another social worker, said although
the rate of drug abuse among Asian students is far lower than other
ethnic groups, there has been a sharp increase in recent years. He added that new immigrant families should pay extra attention
to their children.
According to Ho, among the cases they
receive, it is more common to see Chinese students between the ages
of 13 and 19 smoking marijuana, especially among 9th
graders. A survey by
Partnership for a Drug Free America showed that marijuana is the
most popular drug among teenagers and that 41 percent of teenagers
said they had smoked marijuana before.
However, Ho added that many Chinese
parents feel ashamed upon finding out that their children smoked
marijuana because they consider it "the family's dirty laundry".
They would not seek help and would only do so when things
get out of hand.
Ho suggested that Chinese parents take
precautions and take immediate action as soon as they find any unusual
behavior from their children.
According to Ho, a first-time marijuana
smoker would feel relaxed and slow but in high spirits. He or she
would also tend to be talkative, laugh easily, and less likely to
withhold feelings. These effects are especially attractive to new
immigrant students because it helps them to gain self-confidence
within a short period of time.
In the long run, smoking marijuana
may cause depression, suspiciousness, nervousness, quick temper,
hormone disorder, bronchitis, and conjunctivitis.
According to an annual report by the
National Institute on Drug Abuse, which polled 43,000 students in
394 high schools across the United States, 25.5 percent of the 8th
graders had tried drugs and 19.2 percent had smoked marijuana.
Among 10th graders, 44.6 percent used drugs and
38.7 percent smoked marijuana.
53.3 percent of the 12th graders polled had tried
drugs and 47.8 percent smoked marijuana.
For assistance in Madarin and Cantonese,
parents can call (718) 899-9810 ext 206.
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.
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