230524 Examining the etiology of crack use among Latino immigrant day laborers in New Orleans

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Nalini Negi, PhD, MSW , School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Avelardo Valdez, PhD , Graduate College of Social Work, Center for Drug and Social Policy Research, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Alice Cepeda, PhD , Department of Sociology, Center for Drug and Social Policy Research, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Charles Kaplan, PhD , 320 Social Work Building, Graduate College of Social Work, Houston, TX
Introduction: Post-Katrina New Orleans has seen an influx of Latino day laborers due to a demand for cheap labor. Despite this immigrant population's social vulnerability there is limited understanding of their risk factors and risk behavior in this post-disaster environment. This presentation will focus on the largely unidentified emergence of crack cocaine use among this population.

Method: In-depth interviews were conducted in Spanish with 52 Latino male immigrant day laborers who reported use of illicit drugs during the past year, arrival in New Orleans post-Katrina, and living in the New Orleans area. Analysis of the qualitative data consisted of defining broad dimensions and specific variations distinguishing patterns of crack use.

Results. Findings reveal that the prevalence of open air drug markets has led to easy accessibility, thereby facilitating and maintaining patterns of crack use. Furthermore, a post-disaster context, social isolation, workers' rights abuses, violent victimization, and theft were identified as contributing factors to drug initiation and daily use.

Discussion. The emergence of crack use among Latino immigrant day laborers is problematic from a public health perspective as this population often lacks access to preventative and health care services. This population also has the potential to act as a ‘‘bridge for infection'' in the spread of HIV and other blood borne pathogens. Effective public health and social service interventions must consider the unique contextual factors influencing drug use among this population.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants in the session will be able to identify potential risk-factors for drug initiation and use among Latino immigrant day laborers. 2. Participants in the session will be able to explain why Latino immigrant day labors are a vulnerable population in need of culturally and contextually responsive services.

Keywords: Drug Use, Latino

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content because my research expertise includes the psychological distress and susbtance abuse of Latino immigrant day laborers.
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.