Mexican-Americans Need Drug Classes Too

by Mike Miller September 24, 2012

Hispanic men and women are decidedly different, even when it comes to substance abuse, suggests a study that compared Mexican-American men and women. During the research, alcohol was found to be the number one abused substance among Mexican-American males (40.1 percent), and methamphetamine or cocaine was found to be the most abused substance among Mexican-American females (33.5 percent). The study was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“This study and others like it help us understand the characteristics and substance use behaviors among various populations entering treatment and can be used to develop more culturally sensitive and gender specific prevention and treatment programs,” said in a statement Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., SAMHSA Administrator. As reported in

The study indicated Mexican-American males were far more likely to present substance abuse issues than females. Of the Mexican-Americans receiving treatment, 72.5 percent were male. However, those women (10.9 percent) who were being treated for substance abuse issues were more likely than the men (6.8 percent) to have corresponding mental health issues.

Male Mexican-Americans were more likely to be referred for substance abuse treatment through the justice system than were females, who were more likely to be referred through community assistance programs.

For those substance abusers older than 16, 65.7 percent were unemployed, with men (39.8 percent) being twice as likely as women (19.6 percent) to be employed. One area where Mexican-Americans of both genders found common ground was in regards to age of exposure. For both female and male Mexican-Americans, usage of problem substances began prior to age 18. While Mexican-Americans are one sub-demographic suffering from substance abuse issues, SAMHSA states those issues are not unique to this group.

“Although patterns of substance abuse may vary somewhat among different groups and cultures within our nation, all segments of American society need help with this enormous public health problem,” said Hyde.

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