Survey: Teens in LA's Koreatown drink and do more drugs than their peers

Heather Jun, left, and Sayada Sosa, teen members of the Koreatown Youth & Community Center, talked about a new report highlighting drug and alcohol abuse among teens in Koreatown during a news conference on May 12, 2011.
Heather Jun, left, and Sayada Sosa, teen members of the Koreatown Youth & Community Center, talked about a new report highlighting drug and alcohol abuse among teens in Koreatown during a news conference on May 12, 2011. Ashley Bailey/KPCC

High school students in L.A.’s Koreatown consume nearly three times as much alcohol and marijuana as their peers nationwide, according to a just-released survey by the Asian American Drug Abuse Program and the Koreatown Youth & Community Center.

Eighteen-year-old Heather Jun helped conduct the survey. She says many Korean teens drink and use drugs because they are often left unsupervised and don’t discuss the dangers of substance abuse with their parents.

“In the Korean culture, me and my parents don’t talk about a lot of things. We never talk about, like, drugs, sex or, like, other stuff like that. I guess there’s like a level, like a line, that we don’t really cross. But ... it’s not only the parent’s fault. The kids do have to ... contribute to the conversation, too.”

Most of the 250 teens surveyed said they have easy access to drugs and alcohol. There are about 550 liquor licenses in the densely populated Koreatown neighborhoods.

The survey recommends parents supervise their teens more closely, and says police should keep a close eye on businesses selling substances to minors.

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