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Am J Public Health. 2016 Jan;106(1):119-27. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302871. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Substance Use and Cumulative Exposure to American Society: Findings From Both Sides of the US-Mexico Border Region.

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Guilherme Borges, Ricardo Orozco, and Maria Elena Medina-Mora are with Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría, México DF, México. Guilherme Borges is also with the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México DF. Cheryl J. Cherpitel and Sarah E. Zemore are with the National Alcohol Research Center, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA. Lynn Wallisch is with the University of Texas, Center for Social Work Research, Austin, TX. Joshua Breslau is with RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA.



We investigated whether Mexican immigration to the United States exerts transnational effects on substance use in Mexico and the United States.


We performed a cross-sectional survey of 2336 Mexican Americans and 2460 Mexicans in 3 Texas border metropolitan areas and their sister cities in Mexico (the US-Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions, 2011-2013). We collected prevalence and risk factors for alcohol and drug use; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, alcohol-use disorders; and 2 symptoms (hazardous use and quit or control) of drug use disorder across a continuum of migration experiences in the Mexican and Mexican American populations.


Compared with Mexicans with no migrant experience, the adjusted odds ratios for this continuum of migration experiences ranged from 1.10 to 8.85 for 12-month drug use, 1.09 to 5.07 for 12-month alcohol use disorder, and 1.13 to 9.95 for 12-month drug-use disorder. Odds ratios increased with longer exposure to US society. These findings are consistent with those of 3 previous studies.


People of Mexican origin have increased prevalence of substance use and disorders with cumulative exposure to US society.

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