203899 Non-medical Sources for Prescription Drugs among Immigrant Latinos in NC: An Exploratory Study

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aaron T. Vissman, MPH , Social Science and Health Policy, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Olivia Quintana , Chatham Social Health Council, Pittsboro, NC
Fred Bloom, PhD , Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Jami Leichliter, PhD , Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Jaime Montaño , Chatham Social Health Council, Pittsboro, NC
Michael Topmiller, MA , School of Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, CHES , Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Background: Little is known about the lived experiences of Latino immigrants who need and seek medical care and prescription drugs in the Southeast US. This study explores non-medical sources for sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment used by recently-arrived, non-English-speaking immigrant Latinos in central NC.

Methods: Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership collected, analyzed, and interpreted data from individual in-depth interviews with Latino community members and rural health leaders, who advise Latino community members on drug use.

Results: Twenty four community members, including traditional healers (n=2), religious leaders (n=2), transgender Latinos (n=3), heterosexual Latino men (n=6) and women (n=7), and Latino gay men (n=4), were interviewed to gain emic (“insider”) perspectives on use of non-medical sources of prescription drugs. Six local Latino-service and health providers also were interviewed to gain etic (“outsider”) perspectives on use.

Participants identified mistrust, cost, language and other multilevel barriers to seeking and accessing formal health care, including testing, care, and treatment for STIs. They described healthcare expectations among immigrants and how Latinos in NC often rely on traditional remedies and prescription drugs from nonmedical sources. Although penicillin and medical care advice were both described as available from nonmedical outlets (e.g., tiendas), participants reported that embarrassment would preclude most Latinos from soliciting STI treatment advice at these locations.

Conclusions: The rapidly growing Latino population in the Southeast US presents new challenges for and demands on the existing healthcare system. Prescription drug procurement and misuse described herein could increase this community's risk for injury and vulnerability to drug-resistant infection.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the non-medical sources of prescription drugs used by Spanish-speaking immigrants to North Carolina. List the medicines and types of medical care advice available from non-medical sources. Discuss risks and benefits associated with these drug procurement patterns.

Keywords: Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Latin American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: MPH -experienced in qualitative data analysis.
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.