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Deportation Along the U.S.–Mexico Border: Its Relation to Drug Use Patterns and Accessing Care

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Since migration has been linked to new drug trends and risky behaviors, and deported individuals face unique economic and social stressors, we investigated behaviors of injection drug users (IDUs) from Tijuana, Mexico in relation to deportation history. In 2005, IDUs ≥18 years old who injected within the prior month were recruited by respondent-driven sampling, administered a questionnaire, and underwent antibody testing for HIV, HCV, and syphilis. Logistic regression compared IDUs who reported coming to Tijuana due to deportation from the U.S. versus others in the study. Of 219 participants, 16% were deportees. Prevalence of HIV, HCV and syphilis was 3, 95 and 13%, respectively. Deportees had lived in Tijuana for a shorter time (median: 2 vs. 16 years), were more likely to inject multiple times/day (OR: 5.52; 95%CI: 1.62–18.8), but less likely to have smoked/inhaled methamphetamine (OR: 0.17; 95%CI: 0.17–0.86). Deportation history was inversely associated with receiving drug treatment (OR: 0.41; 95%CI: 0.19–0.89), recent medical care (OR: 0.37; 95%CI: 0.13–1.00), or HIV testing (OR: 0.44; 95%CI: 0.19–1.02). Deportees had different drug use patterns and less interaction with public health services than other study participants. Our study is an indication that migration history might relate to current risk behaviors and access to health care. More in-depth studies to determine factors driving such behaviors are needed.

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The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to the study participants for making this study possible. The authors also gratefully acknowledge support from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) through grants R01 DA09225-S11, 1R21DA024381, and R01 DA019829, donor support for the Harold Simon Chair in International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine, the UCSD Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI36214-06), and career awards supporting K. B. (NIDA grant K01DA020364) and M. L. Z. (NIMH K01MH072353). We extend our thanks to Samuel Kim, who completed an exploratory analysis related to migration in our cohort. We are extremely thankful for the efforts of the staff of Proyecto El Cuete, CIRAD, and Patronato ProCOMUSIDA, and to Dr. Peter Hartsock of NIDA.

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Correspondence to K. C. Brouwer.

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Brouwer, K.C., Lozada, R., Cornelius, W.A. et al. Deportation Along the U.S.–Mexico Border: Its Relation to Drug Use Patterns and Accessing Care. J Immigrant Minority Health 11, 1–6 (2009).

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