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Mexican Immigrants: Migrants and Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities

Victor Q. Garcia, Ph.D.

Migrant workers seldom use conventional substance abuse treatments in the United States and in Mexico. Instead, they are using non-conventional treatments based on the 12-step modality, such as migrant-specific AA groups, fourth and fifth step AA groups, and 24 hour AA groups. This session will identify and describe these treatments, and suggest how similar treatments can be established to assist transnational populations. These treatments are affordable, draw on core cultural and religious beliefs, and can easily be initiated in one country and continued in another.

Goals and Objectives

By the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Have learned about the major barriers to substance abuse treatment that migrants and immigrants encounter;
  2. Discuss traditional substance abuse treatments developed by migrants and immigrants;
  3. Have learned how they can help implement traditional substance abuse treatments in their communities.

Presentation Outline

  1. Substance Abuse among Mexican Immigrants and Migrants in Pennsylvania
    1. Nature of Problem
    2. Prevalence
  2. Why is Substance Abuse among Immigrants and Migrants a Challenge to Treat?
    1. Limited Treatment Availability
    2. Barriers to Available Treatments
    3. Migration & Mobility Obstacles
  3. Traditional Substance Abuse Treatments
    1. Immigrant & Migrant Specific AA Groups
    2. Fourth & Fifth Step Groups
    3. Anexos or 24-Hour Groups
  4. Treatment Paradigms
    1. AA Principles
    2. Religiosity
    3. Cultural Values and Beliefs
  5. Implementation and Development of Traditional Treatments in Local Communities
    1. Community Outreach
    2. Stakeholder Involvement
    3. Partnerships with Local Employers & Industry
  6. Rationale for Implementation
    1. Based on Immigrant & Migrant Culture
    2. Low-Cost
    3. Mobile & Travels with Immigrants & Migrants
  7. Conclusion
  • Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute
  • Stright Hall, Room 107E
    210 South Tenth Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4405
  • Fax: 724-357-3944
  • MARTI Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
  • Send general office email to:
  • vgarcia@iup.edu