The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Factors Associated With Treatment Utilization and Barriers to Treatment in a Neighborhood in Mexico City

Thursday, January 16, 2014: 3:00 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 103B Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Avelardo Valdez, PhD, Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Miguel Angel Melendez Mendoza, Executive Director of Research and Evaluation, IAPA, Mexico City, Mexico
Background and Purpose: Existing research in Mexico has found high rates of underutilization of treatment services.  Low rates of treatment seeking behavior have been attributed to factors such as the lack of recognition of addiction as a disease, social stigma and lack of integration of services. Moreover, Mexico’s public health system is not very extensive and geared more for insured workers or those in the public sector, while those patients who receive drug treatment do so in specialized centers.  This study will provide a descriptive portrait of the factors associated with treatment utilization and barriers to treatment in one delegación in Mexico City (Venustiano Carranza). 

 Methods: The data for the present analyses come from an on-going international research collaboration between the University of Southern California and the Instituto Para la Prevención y Atención de Adiciones.  Data for this presentation comes from a needs assessment project that collected existing quantitative treatment indicators from governmental agencies.  Moreover, focus groups were conducted with existing service providers (i.e. counselors, social workers, directors, etc.) working in a variety of drug treatment centers in Venustiano Carranza.  Representatives included individuals from such outpatient treatment centers such as non-governmental (i.e. Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotic Anonymous) and governmental or federal including Centros de Intervención Juvenil and Centros Nueva Vida.

 Results:  Analyses reveal that providers perceive the low levels of drug treatment utilization to be attributed to the lack of knowledge of the existence of drug treatment services in the community.  This barrier to treatment was attributed to their own recognition regarding the lack of sufficient or appropriate community outreach and advertisements of services.  Moreover, providers agreed that drug users, depending on their level of dependence, have very low rates of help-seeking behavior.  Many times, the services are sought out by family members, who because of the limited resources choose Anexos, which are unregulated drug treatment centers that use unorthodox procedures. 

 Conclusions and Implications: Findings form this study indicate that distinct barriers exist in this society from those in the United States.  Comparatively, there is scarcity of public treatment facilities that is confounded by the economic status of users and their families. Public health officials and policy recommendations need to take establish treatment modalities that take into consideration the unique characteristics and circumstances of this population. Addressing this problem will require attention to larger social structural inequalities including housing, employment, and education that are faced by this population.