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Substance Use by Immigrant Generation in a U.S.-Mexico Border City


Immigrant generation status has an impact on substance use, with lower use rates for recent immigrants. Substance use surveillance data are reported at the national and state levels; however, no systematic collection of data exists at the city level for the general population. In particular, rates of substance use have not been published for El Paso, Texas. The aims of this study are to estimate the prevalence of substance use among Hispanics in El Paso and to determine the association between substance use and immigrant generation. Hispanic residents of El Paso (N = 837) were interviewed. Demographic, immigration, and substance use data were collected. Bivariate analysis indicated that substance use increased as immigrant generation increased, while perceived problems with substance use decreased. In comparison to Texas and national data, our data showed that the rates of tobacco, marijuana, and illicit drug use were lower among young adults in El Paso.

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The study was conducted with the support of the Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center at the University of Texas at El Paso. The project “Social Determinants of Physical and Mental Health of Migrant and Transient Populations: Health Disparities amongst Hispanics in El Paso” was supported by Award Number P20MD00287 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent official views of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Oralia Loza.

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Loza, O., Castañeda, E. & Diedrich, B. Substance Use by Immigrant Generation in a U.S.-Mexico Border City. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 1132–1139 (2017).

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  • Substance use
  • Hispanic
  • U.S.-Mexico border
  • Immigrant generation