184706 Substance use in the Texas-Mexico border region

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:42 AM

Jane C. Maxwell, PhD , Center for Social Work Research, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Background: The Texas-Mexico border is a major trafficking route for drugs. Differing routes may influence drug consumption in the region. We compared substance use in border and non-border areas of Texas to use in Mexican cities on the Texas border.

Methods: We used the Texas School Survey, data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and a similar Mexican data source on treatment admissions (SISVEA) to compare patterns of use. Seizure data were obtained from forensic laboratory reports (NFLIS).

Results: Students from Texas border schools reported higher prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and crack than non-border students. Twenty percent of border high school seniors reported lifetime use of powder cocaine, compared to 11% of seniors in non-border schools. Treatment data showed similar patterns; border clients were more likely than non-border clients to abuse powder cocaine (22% vs. 10%) and alcohol (31% vs. 24%), while non-border clients were more likely to abuse crack cocaine (13% vs. 8%), methamphetamine (12% vs. 1%), and other opiates (6% vs. 0.7%). Similar to Texas border admissions, 19%-35% of admissions into northeastern Mexican treatment programs cited primary abuse of cocaine. Notably, geographical differences in use and treatment were consistent with drug seizure patterns in Texas; 49% of border seizures were cocaine and 39% cannabis, while 32% of non-border seizures were cocaine, 22% cannabis, and 21% methamphetamine.

Conclusions: Drug use patterns on both sides of the border are similar but differ from usage in non-border regions and these patterns are consistent with geographic differences in drug seizures.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate geographical similarities and differences in substance use on the Texas-Mexico border. 2. Characterize the relationship between demand and supply of drugs and use patterns on the border.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Area of research expertise.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.