Alcoholism & Addiction

Substance Abuse Differs Between Mexican-American Genders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides regular reports highlighting trends in substance use across the nation. In a recent publication, the substance abuse habits of Mexican-American men and women were summarized by SAMHSA.

The report is based on admissions records to substance abuse treatment facilities located in various locations in the United States.

The report showed that when it comes to substance abuse, there are significant differences between Mexican-American men and women. For instance, alcohol is the most common primary substance of abuse among men in the population (40.1 percent), while for women the primary choice was methamphetamine or cocaine (33.5 percent).

Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., SAMHDA Administrator explains that the results of the study provide information useful for developing necessary treatment and information to policymakers as they make decisions about equipping communities with resources for treating substance abuse.

The information also helps those who strategize to build education and prevention programs that target specific groups within the general population.

The report showed that males in the Mexican-American subgroup were more likely than females to report a substance abuse problem. Among those receiving treatment, 72.5 percent of the individuals were male. Women, however, were more likely to have a co-occurring mental health issue than men (10.9 percent versus 6.8 percent).

The genders also exhibited differences when it came to the method of referral that led to an admission to a substance abuse treatment facility. Males were more likely to be admitted to a treatment facility through the criminal justice system when compared to females, who were more likely to be admitted through a referral from a community assistance program.

When examining those in treatment over the age of 16, 65.7 percent were unemployed, with men more likely to be employed (39.8 percent versus 19.6 percent, respectively).

When it came to the age of initiation of use, the genders were similar. Both males and females were introduced to their problems substances at an average age of 18.

Mexican-Americans are just one group that suffers from substance abuse problems. SAMHSA explains that issues related to substance use are not unique to Mexican-Americans, and all segments of the population need help with addressing substance use.

The findings presented by SAMHSA may aid in the development of substance abuse treatment facilities. By identifying the specific needs of a segment of the population, the data can be used to more effectively provide the treatment necessary to provide a means for recovery.

In addition, the information gathered by the Administration may help in building education and prevention programs that can effectively target members of the population that may be more likely to try certain substances.

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