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Researching Latino Participants

Posted on January 20, 2009

Bias and acculturation issues affect Latino communities in the US, states Liliane Windsor (bio).


When you're talking about the Latino population, one big issue that always comes up is the whole issue of acculturation, of immigration, border relations, and so forth, and now Latinos, the Latino population in the United States, is really increasing. And we know, in terms of protective factors and risk factors, that the more acculturated that people become, the higher risk they are in terms of developing substance abuse. So this is one aspect.

And then another important aspect, which is really my passion and where I do my research, is the more structural issues and the policy issues that arise when you're dealing with minority populations in the U.S., especially in terms of incarceration policies. Latinos tend to use less drugs than most other ethnic groups. They are over represented in the criminal justice system, and that doesn't mean that they are committing more crimes than other people. So what does that mean, and how can we intervene on that? Change that? Empower the communities so that biases towards Latinos are not getting in the way?

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Conference in Bethesda, MD.

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