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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2012 May;23(2):678-93. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2012.0063.

The use of prescription medications obtained from non-medical sources among immigrant Latinos in the rural southeastern U.S.

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Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1063, USA.


We explored the relationships between behavioral, socio-cultural, and psychological characteristics and the use of prescription medications obtained from non-medical sources among predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinos in the rural southeastern U.S. Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) was used to identify, recruit, and enroll immigrant Latinos to participate in an interviewer-administered assessment. A total of 164 respondents were interviewed in 2009. Average age was 34 years old, 64% of respondents were female, and nearly 85% reported being from Mexico. Unweighted and RDS-weighted prevalence estimates of any non-medical source of prescription medications were 22.6% and 15.1%, respectively. In multivariable modeling, respondents who perceived their documentation status as a barrier to health care and those with higher educational attainment were significantly more likely to report use of non-medical sources. Interventions are needed to increase knowledge of eligibility to sources of medical care and treatment and ensure culturally congruent services for immigrant communities in the U.S.

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