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Why is it important to study Substance Abuse?

Drug and alcohol abuse are significant public health problems among people of all ages, economic backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Drug use may involve illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana, or it may involve the misuse and abuse of prescribed medications.

Substance abuse is linked with many negative health-related consequences.  For example, substance use can exacerbate physical health conditions and mental health problems and vulnerabilities such as depression, anxiety, and suicide risk.  The prolonged misuse of drugs of many types can lead to long term changes in the chemical balances in the brain.

These public health problems and health related consequences highlight the need for robust culturally sensitive research designed to improve understanding and address the occurrence of Substance Abuse as it affects vulnerable populations in this community.

What are we doing at El Centro to help prevent Substance Abuse and other forms of Substance use in racial, ethnic, and sexual minority groups?

El Centro supports clinicians and researchers working to develop and test innovative treatments to reduce or eliminate alcohol and drug use.  The interventions that have been developed and tested range from office-based to home-based to computer-assisted treatments.  The participants have included both adolescents and adult women of Hispanic and African American descent and their families.