• Andrew Thurston

    Editor, The Brink Twitter Profile

    Photo of Andrew Thurston, a white man with black glasses. He smiles and wears a maroon polo shirt.

    Andrew Thurston is originally from England, but has grown to appreciate the serial comma and the Red Sox, while keeping his accent (mostly) and love of West Ham United. He joined BU in 2007, and is the editor of the University’s research news site, The Brink; he was formerly director of alumni publications. Before joining BU, he edited consumer and business magazines, including for corporations, nonprofits, and the UK government. His work has won awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the In-House Agency Forum, Folio:, and the British Association of Communicators in Business. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in English and related literature from the University of York. Profile

  • Jackie Ricciardi

    Staff photojournalist

    Portrait of Jackie Ricciardi

    Jackie Ricciardi is a staff photojournalist at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. She has worked as a staff photographer at newspapers that include the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., and at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, N.H., where she was twice named New Hampshire Press Photographer of the Year.   Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 2 comments on How Racism and Bias Influence Substance Use and Addiction Treatment

  1. I am an immigrant and a first-generation high school graduate. We’re both from different faraway continents and found love in the USA. Our children and multi-racial and their birthday parties look like an invasion of the young UN if it weren’t for the lack of blue helmets.

    I put some of my family’s background in, as it clearly demonstrates that we have a mixed family and arguably both come from a disadvantaged background.

    This article attempts to demonstrate that “racism and bias influence substance use and addiction treatment”. I believe this article fails to demonstrate any of this. Let me start with that this article seems to have a preconceived conclusion that everything is racist and “Whitey’s” fault and doesn’t put any responsivity or agency on people Lee deems to be marginalized. This is very problematic, as it also disempowers members of these groups.

    It starts with Lee’s own story, where she also fails to take/demand responsibility from her parents for not fully adjusting to life in America.
    As an immigrant, I understand how difficult it can be to leave your comfort zone and adjust to American life.
    For many years, I had mostly ‘foreign’ friends from all around the world and very few American friends.
    This was not because Americans don’t let you in, but most immigrants choose to surround themselves with people like them. Asian people tend to behave strongly like this. You can’t blame ‘Whitey’ for inviting you in and you not accepting the invitation.

    “If you can’t speak English, you’re treated differently”… Well, it’s rather difficult to provide you with any treatment if they don’t understand you. It is not the healthcare provider’s responsibility to learn every language, but yours to learn the language of the country you move to.
    (I have lived on three continents and speak seven languages – why can’t you learn a second??)
    In the USA, most healthcare providers do, however, provide translation services and are patient when you use some translation device.
    Try going to a doctor in Spain or Mexico and speak Vietnamese, or to a doctor in China and speak Igbo, or to Korea and be anything but Korean…. You will not get very far.
    The USA is “literally” the most accommodating country in the world.

    “Latinx people…don’t drink more than any other racial or ethnic group—in fact, they tend to hit the bottle a lot less, especially compared to white people”
    The linked article show indeed that there are more lifetime abstainers amongst Hispanics than amongst Whites, but also states that “women typically do not drink alcohol outside of small family gatherings or other private settings”
    This difference is likely completely due to these women that don’t drink. The article also shows a breakdown of how many drinks people usually consume, broken down by the two ethnic groups. It is clear that Hispanics drink more than Whites when they drink – the article also concludes this with “U.S.-born Hispanic men … tend to have relaxed attitudes toward drinking… [and] are more likely to drink, to drink heavily, and to have alcohol-related problems possibly”

    Disparities have a lot to do with Latinx communities experiencing more consequences for their use, even though they don’t drink as much,” says Lee. “The patterns are different—there’s more heavy drinking, and that’s related to a lot of negative health consequences.”

    Besides the contraction between “don’t drink as much”, “hit the bottle less,” and “there’s more heavy drinking” it is clear that the negative health outcomes are not due to racism but due to binge drinking, and I would argue the same for getting citations for drinking under the influence.
    (one doesn’t get a citation for consuming one or two drinks).

    To continue: “and [Hispanic] less likely to get help for an alcohol use disorder, join Alcoholics Anonymous, or stick with a treatment program” is yet another reason why there may be larger serious alcohol-related problems in that community, but has nothing to do with racism, but more with taking responsibility and perhaps the stigma on seeking help in the community.

    Squeezing in Donald Trump in a mostly unrelated paragraph without ANY references demonstrates that this article is politically motivated and not motivated to learn/create new knowledge.

    “Lee acknowledges that talking about race, racism, or stigma due to immigration status might be difficult for some—especially white—healthcare providers.” I agree, but also believe that articles like hers contribute to making it impossible for White providers to bring up anything that may touch a sensitive spot.

    1. Good reply Multiculti!
      I don’t even bother to read BU articles anymore, they are all politic hit pieces full of left biases.
      Rather then promote individual responsibility we find excuse like racism etc. just because, these days, is trendy.

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