Perceptions of Substance Use and Substance Use Prevention Programming: An Iowa Latino Immigrant Family Perspective

Martha Dettman, Iowa State University
Ed A. Munoz, Iowa State University
Catherine Lillehoj Goldberg, Iowa State University
Delfino Vargas-Chanes, Mayo Clinic

ABSTRACT
The majority of the literature on Latinos/as and substance use focuses on Latino populations in regions of historical concentration due to initial modes of U.S. incorporation--i.e., Mexican Southwest, Puerto Rican Northeast, and Cuban Miami. In this paper, separate parent and youth focus group interviews are conducted with Iowa Latino immigrant families to explore perceptions of substance use and substance use prevention programming within a contemporary developing Latino community. Both parents and children perceive substance use as a problem within the Latino community, which lends to their favorable view towards substance use prevention programs. What's more, parents and youth see bilingualism and biculturalism as a useful preventive strategy in combating the negative consequences of substance use. Findings indicate the urgency for future research that better determines the nature and scope of substance use among Latino immigrant families outside of historical residential concentrations. From this, culturally and regionally appropriate substance use prevention progrms can be designed and implemented.

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Updated 05/20/2006