Towards An Understanding of the Transnational Context of Drug Use Practices and Treatment of Latino Migrant in the U.S. and Mexico
Thursday, January 16, 2014: 1:30 PM-3:15 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 103B Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
Nalini Negi, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Despite the estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants that live in the U.S., there is an absence of a well-defined understanding of this population’s drug use epidemiology. Recent studies suggest that single, Latino migrant men, many of who come to the United States to work as day laborers in the informal economy, are at heightened risk of drug abuse given their distinct social, situational and contextual circumstances (i.e., isolation, immigration status, residence in low income neighborhoods). With Latinos having some of the lowest rates of access and utilization of drug treatment and related health services, research on the social epidemiology of drug use is needed to reduce existing health disparities among this population. This is especially relevant as Latino migrant day laborers are a highly mobile population with the potential to act as a “bridge for infection” in the spread of HIV and other blood borne pathogens within other Latino sub-populations. The transient nature of Latino migrants exacerbates the public health relevance of this population as many travel migrate back and forth from their country of origin to the United States. This population’s unique transnational context of risk calls for an investigation of its patterns of drug use and engagement in adverse health risk behaviors in the U.S. and the subsequent underutilization of drug treatment services in Mexico. Despite the need for a larger dialogue about how drug use patterns are shaped and diffused within the larger transnational context, there is a gap in the literature. This symposium convenes presentations that address drug use practices, access and barriers for treament within the United States as well as in Mexico to initiate a discussion focused on this under-studied population. Implications for individual, family, community and treatment infrastructure will be discussed.
Nalini Negi, Alice Cepeda and Avelardo Valdez will first present on the surprising emergence of crack use among male Latino immigrant day laborers in New Orleans. They will present their ethnographic study (N=52) that explores drug use initiation and factors associated to crack use among this population.
Alice Cepeda and Guillermina Natera-Rey will then present data from 150 male and female crack users in Mexico city to elucidate macro level factors associated to diffusion of crack use, including transnational migration, and existing interdiction efforts in Mexico city.
Erick Guerro will use a transnational approach to examine perceived (stigma, denial, minimization) and actual barriers (no insurance, limited treatment options, cost) to access treatment among nationally representative household data from Mexico. This has larger implications for informing coordinated policy interventions in Mexico and U.S. to enhance access to care for high-risk transnational communities.
Finally, Avelardo Valdez and Miguel Angel Melendez Mendoza will provide a descriptive portrait of the factors associated with treatment utilization and barriers to treatment in one delegación in Mexico City (Venustiano Carranza). Distinct barriers that exist in Mexico City from those in the United States will be discussed. The importance of establishing treatment modalities that take into consideration the unique transnational characteristics and circumstances of this population will be addressed.
* noted as presenting author