Unique obstacles put US Latinos at risk for addiction

fewer years of drug use, whereas long-term full-time employment was linked to drug use in U.S.-born individuals. Drug use and anxiety were also only correlated within the U.S.-born group.

Latino immigrants tend to experience more adverse situations, such as lower levels of assimilation to U.S. culture, decreased English aptitude, lower educational status, fewer job opportunities, and weakened social structure due to being apart from family. And Latinos are also more likely to be surrounded by disadvantageous neighborhoods, escalated environmental stressors, inadequate social support, and high-risk conditions. These factors heightened the likelihood of illicit drug and alcohol use as coping mechanisms, the researchers stated.

“We live in a data-driven world, where funding for services is distributed based on need,” Lopez-Tamayo said. “Without scientific studies that indicate what distal factors — and the degree to which these affect substance abuse treatment outcomes substance abuse treatment services for this population — existing [treatment] would continue to promote abstinence-based on a one-size-fits-all model. More importantly, future research should inform public policy that aims to reduce socioeconomic disparities that affect Latino subgroups.”