Thank You From the Bottom of My Heart

23 June, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu

Dear Readers,

I wanted to take some time this morning to inform you that I will be leaving Asian Health Coalition and CASAP at the end of this month. My last day will be Wednesday, 28 June, 2017. I really wanted to let you all know that it has been an absolute pleasure of mine to have the opportunity to get a chance to work for CASAP. In my time here, I have seen the organization grow stronger, have such an impact on the community, and also be an influential force for other organizations in the greater Chicago area. I implore you to continue to work to make Chinatown a better, safer place to live, but also to pass on our wisdom and our knowledge so that others may grow stronger, as well. I really, truly believe that the work we do here, can be incredibly special, if we all work together to do it. But for now, thank you all for the help you have been the past two years.

I started adding weekly blog posts on the CASAP website about a year ago. Since then, only on rare occasions would I not post on this website. My predecessors saw this website as a public database for all of our materials, presentations, and meeting minutes. I saw it as more. I saw it as a way to engage with readers and the CASAP community in a weekly way about some topic related to CASAP or Substance use. I wanted to say thanks for everything, readers. For now, the CASAP weekly blogs will be going on hiatus for a while. I am not too sure when the blogs will be back, but when they do, I’m sure all of you will be back as well.
For now, should you have any questions or concerns about CASAP, please contact either Angela Forfia at or Miny Wu at

Kindest Regards,
Kevin Trieu

CASAP Coordinator
Asian Health Coalition
180 W Washington St. #1000
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 372-7070 x230


Tobacco Still an Issue in Rural America

16 June, 2017| By:Kevin Trieu


Beyond the densely populated urban jungle and the crisp, clean streets of suburbia, lies communities oftentimes long forgotten (until a certain presidential candidate started to pay particular attention to them exactly two years ago today). Rural America has often lagged behind the rest of America: in economics, in education, and in health as well, so it is no surprise to know that the struggles of living in these parts of America has led to a disproportionate amount of rural Americans smoking. Nationally, smoking rates are at historic lows, but if we drill down socioeconomic factors, we can find that”rural residents are diagnosed with lung cancer of rates 18 to 20 percent above those of city dwellers.” This is all due to the fact that rural communities have a lack of economic resources and healthcare resources. Tobacco companies know this and have been marketing a lot more to these communities, and less in urban, wealthier communities. It really is a tale of two worlds.

None of this is surprising. I have written many stories about tobacco companies advertising to poorer countries in the face of declining smoking rates in the US. This is the first time I have shown a light on poorer parts of the US and their smoking rates, and this is actually the first article I have seen to talk about it. (link to article will be down below). If we look at the Chinese community in Chinatown, we know that most of the smokers in Chinatown are not Chinese-Americans that have lived here for generations, but are Chinese immigrants who come here from the mainland and bring their addiction with. The more we understand that what you might see, might not be the reality for all Americans and the more articles that shine a light on issues such as this, the more we can help tackle and diminish tobacco use.

What do you think? Comment down below.

Link to article here.

Moderate Drinking Could Harm Brain

9 June, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


We all know that heavy drinking, can damage the brain. We also know that drinking underage can cause long-lasting to addiction to alcohol. A new British study, suggest that even moderate drinking can have an affect on the brain. The study found that moderate drinkers were three times more likely to experience decline in mental skills than those who do not drink at all.

The long-term study looked at 550 British men and women for 30 years. Average age of 43 and none were alcohol dependent, when beginning the study.

The study found that heavy consumption could lead to the most brain damage, increasing risk of damages of memory and spatial navigation. The study also found that even moderate consumption of alcohol could lead to an increased risk of damages. Moderate consumption is defined as 5-7 servings per week or about 1 per day. Although, it is important to note that light to moderate alcohol consumption does not have any affect and may have some benefits.

The researchers stated that “more research is needed to confirm the findings,” and I would agree with that statement. This is the first study that has found this, so I definitely would like to see more studies to confirm this.

What do you think about the study? Comment down below.

Link to story here.

Link to study here.

UN Warns of Environmental Impact of Tobacco

2 June, 2017| By:Kevin Trieu


On the Eve on World No Tobacco Day, the United Nations laid out the environmental impacts that tobacco has globally. They state that in tobacco waste there are 7,000 different types of chemicals found that threaten the environment and contain carcinogens and green house gases. By count, it is also the world’s largest source of litter. The UN also lays out the economic and health impact of tobacco use. You can find out more by clicking on the report here.

What do you think of this report? Comment down below.



Update: White House Will NOT Gut Drug Control Office

25 May 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


Two weeks ago, I wrote that it was being reported that the White House would gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) by 95%. On Tuesday, the President’s 2018 Budget Request was released, and ONDCP’s Acting Director Richard Baum called DFC Grantees to address the President’s budget for ONDCP. As it turns out, the Office will not be completely cut. ONDCP will be funded at about 95% of 2017 funding levels, meaning a 5% cut in the office budget. The DFC and HIDTA program will see an increase in the President’s budget. Although both SAMHSA and NIH will face a budget cut.

As stated before, both programs are are vital pasts about what we do here at CASAP and by all accounts, should be an easy program to fully fund. DFC emphasizes local communities solving their local problems and HIDTA emphasizes collaboration across multiple law enforcement agencies to tackle the drug supply chain.

Although any budget cut is troubling, CASAP is certainly glad that, the President has seemingly reversed course and funded ONDCP and both programs. This would not have been done without intense backlash from advocacy organizations like CADCA and several bipartisal, bicameral Representatives from around the country demanding that the President reverse course, including some in Illinois. Their support has been greatly appreciated.

CASAP would like to thank the following Illinois Representatives who sent a letter to OMB Director Mike Mulvaney in Support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA. You have some time out of your day, please contact each of these Representatives thanking them for their support. Thank you all for your support of these vital community programs!

  • Senator Dick Durbin
  • Rep. Danny Davis
  • Rep. Bobby L Rush
  • Rep Raja Krishnamoorthi
  • Rep. Mike Quigley
  • Rep Cheri Bustos

What do you think? Comment down below.

Link to the Senate Support Letter here.

Link to the House Support Letter here.

Link to the Story here.


Workplace Drug Testing Finds Marijuana and Cocaine Use

18 May 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


Quest Diagnostics, a lab testing company, released an annual analysis of 10 million drug testing results nationwide. 4.2% of those tests came back positive for substance use, with Illinois following the national average. Across Illinois, different regions show different substance use interest. In Chicago’s South Suburbs, it’s cocaine. In Southern Illinois, it is Opiates. Please do note, however, that the rates of substance use is far lower than it was when Quest first started publicizing workforce testing in 1988, which sat at a whopping 14% positive rate. From 1988 to 2012, that rate has steadily declined. Since 2012 the rate of positives has been slowly climbing. People who tested positive for Marijuana, has also been rising steadily.

While historically, we are nowhere near where we were in 1988, this rise since 2012 in workforce positive drug tests is certainly alarming. We know that substance use impairs basic functions of the human body, and any amount of substance use, can greatly reduce the effectiveness of any workforce. Take for example a more basic substance, like cigarettes, in a work environment that might not be as physically demanding, like the office. While seemingly harmless, many employers see lost wages from the constant need of smokers to go out to quench their addiction. And the same could be said for marijuana, cocaine, and opioid use with varying degrees, of course. Hopefully this number will slow down, but this is most definitely a report to keep your eyes on.

What do you think? Comment down below.

Link to story here.

President Proposes to Gut Drug Control Office

12 May, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


Last Friday, it was leaked by the press that in the President’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, the President proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy by about 95%. This effectively guts the office and the programs run by the office such as the Drug-Free Communites (DFC) Grant and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency (HIDTA). Please note that CASAP is funded by the DFC grant.

Since that time, the press, Senators, and community based organizations have all called out the President and his staff decrying them of the leaked budget proposal. Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Sander Levin have written a letter to OMB Director Mike Mulvaney in Support of the DFC Program. Several community organizations across the country have signed onto a letter to Senior Adviser to the President, Reed Cordish, and several Senators have written a letter to Mike Mulvaney in support of ONDCP, DFC and HIDTA, including our own Senator Durbin.

While I may express some bias about this issue, but I wanted to say how valuable this program is, and hopefully lend a voice to the cacophony of pushback that this proposal is seeing. The DFC program has been around for about 20 years now, and has seen nothing but success since the program started. I would argue that the success of the program is because local communities are providing and proposing local solutions to be funded. The fact that the president is proposing cuts to this and HIDTA which is a partnership with the FBI, CPD, DEA, ICE as well as other organizations to fight against drug trafficking, is deeply disturbing.

It is important to note; however, that this is the solely the President’s proposal that was leaked. His actual budget proposal will be released on 23 May and any of his budget proposals, will have to go through the meat-grinder that is Congress for approval. What do you think of the proposal? Comment down below.

ACTION  ITEM: Please take 2 minutes out of your day to call up our Senator Durbin’s office to thank him for his support of ONDCP, DFC, and HIDTA. (312) 353-4952 for his Chicago office and (202) 224-2152 for his Washington DC office. (Note: if you are a 501(C)3, this would not be considered lobbying, so you are free to call away!)

Link to story here.