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Effects of social and spatial contexts on young latinas' methamphetamine use initiation

  • Author(s): Cheney, AM
  • Newkirk, CN
  • Nekhavhambe, VM
  • Rotondi, MB
  • Hamilton, A
  • et al.
Abstract

In this article, we examine methamphetamine (meth) use initiation as influenced by Latinas' social positions within institutions (e.g., family and economy). We conducted ethnographic fieldwork in five women's residential substance use treatment facilities in Los Angeles County with women who considered meth to be their primary drug of choice. Using an urban ethnographic framing, we demonstrate the effects of low-income young Latinas' spatial- and social-context rendered vulnerability to abuse and neglect, and the resulting emotional distress, on meth use initiation. When considering pathways to substance use intervention for vulnerable Latina girls and women, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers need to understand substance use pathways as dynamic processes to cope with psychosocial stress while living in communities with easy access to illicit substances such as methamphetamine.

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