Drug Use in Aging Mexican American Men: The Role of Culture and Social Capital



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In the first decade of the twenty-first century, rates for substance abuse treatment among older adults increased significantly. In the next decade the number of individuals 50 and older in need of drug abuse treatment will double to almost 6 million. Injection drug use (IDU) among older adults continues to be a significant health issue in the U.S., and a disproportionate amount of IDU use is among minority communities. IDU is associated with numerous health and social consequences such as incarceration, homelessness, depression, HIV, Hepatitis C, and suicide ideation. Of particular concern is the predicted increase in alcohol and drug use among older Hispanics, expected to result from an upsurge in the Hispanic population. These factors, compounded by the growth of Hispanics in the U.S., are of significant public health concern. Factors such as Social Capital and Cultural Values have been found to influence drug use and treatment, such as efforts to prevent transition to IDU, the onset of IDU, efforts to achieve cessation, and specifically for heroin use. Understanding the roles of Social Capital and Cultural Values among long-term drug injecting Mexican-Americans may elucidate mechanisms of cessation.



Illicit drugs, Social capital, Cultural values, Heroin, Mexican Americans, Health, Substance abuse, Hispanics, Cessation, Aging, Injection drug use, Risk factors, Protective factors, Qualitative research, Quantitative research