A Cultural Comparison of Drug Use among American and South Korean College Students: An Application of Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory

  • Jibey Asthappan American University


The United States faces a major drug problem.  In 2001 the U.S. consumed 1606 metric tons of cocaine alone.  Adults who use drugs face many potential problems.  The obvious problem is the threat of being arrested and prosecuted for the crime of possession or intent to sell/distribute, but the real cost of drugs is apparent in the lives of users.  A promising future is often cast aside for the next “fix.”  One may find that the true problem is not the occasional user but the user whose life is engulfed by drugs.  This perspective, however, does not leave the occasional user innocent.  The money spent on drugs fuels the industry.  For example, the American drug users purchased $10.6 billion in marijuana in 1999; an astonishing figure that testifies to drug dealers’ determination to sell illicit drugs.  In addition, prescription drugs are being abused, adding to the almost insurmountable drug use problem.  

Author Biography

Jibey Asthappan, American University
Jibey Asthappan, Ph.D. is a recent graduate of American University’s Justice Law and Society program.  A special thanks to the Criminal Justice Department at Dongguk University and the School of Public Affairs at American University for all their help in conducting this study.