Substance Use Higher Among Patients from LA Versus Tijuana

Substance Use Higher Among Patients from LA Versus Tijuana

THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of substance use is higher among patients from community health centers in Los Angeles (LA) versus Tijuana, Mexico, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in Substance Use & Misuse.

Lillian Gelberg, M.D., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a binational study to compare substance use screening results from patients at two community clinics in LA and six in Tijuana. The participants (2,507 adults in LA and 2,890 in Tijuana) were eligible for World Health Organization (WHO) Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) screening. Patients self-administered the WHO ASSIST anonymously in the clinic waiting rooms.

The researchers observed a higher prevalence of patients with moderate-to-high substance use in LA than Tijuana for each substance: drugs, 19.4 versus 5.7 percent; alcohol, 15.2 versus 6.5 percent; and tobacco, 20.4 versus 16.2 percent. Compared with Tijuana patients born in Mexico, LA patients born in Mexico and those born in the United States had two- and six-fold increased odds, respectively, of being a moderate-to-high drug user.

“Moderate-to-high drug use is higher in LA than in Tijuana but rates are sufficiently high in both to suggest that screening for drug use (along with alcohol and tobacco use) should be integrated into routine primary care of community clinics in both cities,” the authors write.

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