Substance Use by Immigrant Generation in a U.S.-Mexico Border City

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Oct;19(5):1132-1139. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0407-1.


Immigrant generation status has an impact on substance use, with lower use rates for recent immigrants. Substance use surveillance data are reported at the national and state levels; however, no systematic collection of data exists at the city level for the general population. In particular, rates of substance use have not been published for El Paso, Texas. The aims of this study are to estimate the prevalence of substance use among Hispanics in El Paso and to determine the association between substance use and immigrant generation. Hispanic residents of El Paso (N = 837) were interviewed. Demographic, immigration, and substance use data were collected. Bivariate analysis indicated that substance use increased as immigrant generation increased, while perceived problems with substance use decreased. In comparison to Texas and national data, our data showed that the rates of tobacco, marijuana, and illicit drug use were lower among young adults in El Paso.

Keywords: Hispanic; Immigrant generation; Substance use; U.S.-Mexico border.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Undocumented Immigrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult