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Characteristics of Mexican and Mexican American Adolescents in Treatment for "Cheese" Heroin Use.

Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse 2014;13:258-272. [doi: 10.1080/15332640.2014.883582]

N. Robrina Walker, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern, TX Node), Jane C. Maxwell, PhD (University of Texas Austin, TX Node), Bryon H. Adinoff, MD (University of Texas Southwestern, TX Node), Thomas Carmody, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern, TX Node), Casey E. Coton (University of Texas Southwestern, TX Node), Carlos F. Tirado, MD (University of Texas Southwestern, TX Node).

This is the Results Article for CTN-0036-Ot. Clinical and cultural characteristics of Hispanic adolescent heroin users are not well described. This study, National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network protocol CTN-0036-Ot, was conducted to describe a sample of in-treatment Hispanic adolescents with opioid dependence, specifically cheese heroin (black tar heroin typically mixed with crushed over-the-counter sleep aids that has a granular texture similar to that of grated cheese). Mexican and Mexican American adolescents with heroin dependence (N=72) in three treatment programs were interviewed and completed self-report measures. Participants reported, on average, first using cheese heroin at age 13.5 years and daily use at age 14.2 years. The majority (74%) reported a previous overdose. They were also engaging in other risky behaviors, such as abuse of other drugs and unprotected sex. Adolescents being raised by caregivers other than both biological parents, who used drugs with relatives, and whose immediate family members have documentation to be in the United States fared worse on several indicators of drug use severity and other risky behaviors.

Conclusions: The self-reported brief time period from first use to daily use strongly suggests the need for early prevention and rapid intervention efforts after first use of heroin in this population. Additional research is needed to add to these preliminary results and inform prevention efforts. (Article, Peer-Reviewed, PDF, English, 2014)

Keywords: Adolescents | Cheese heroin | CTN platform/ancillary study | CTN platform/ancillary study results | Heroin | Hispanics and Latinos | Minority groups | Opioid dependence | Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse (journal)

Document No: 1099, PMID: 25176119, PMCID: PMC4151481.

Approved by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 9/9/2014.

Adinoff, Bryon H. search mail
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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
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