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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Chicanas And Heroin Addiction
Program #

Social Issues, Women's Issues
Linda Fregoso
Albert Mata
Nov 1, 1980

Chicanas and Heroin Addiction

Dr. Albert Mata, a sociology professor, discusses his research on Chicana heroin abuse. In recent years, crime and narcotic related arrests among all women, including Chicanas, has increased dramatically. He offers a brief history of drug abuse in the United States, and notes heroin’s early popularity with 19th century rural white women. Over time, drug abuse became associated with certain ethnic groups and the poor. The early 1970s witnessed a dramatic rise in Chicana heroin abuse and Cardenas discusses several theories that seek to explain that increase. He believes that drug use is everywhere in society, but that it is more visible among the powerless whose drugs of choice have been criminalized. He also discusses other explanations that understand drug abuse as a coping mechanism or a status symbol.

Mata’s research seeks to contextualize drug use in the barrios by collecting the life histories of drug users. His work is just one part of the Chicano Pinto Research Project that collects data and generates policy recommendations on several issues affecting Chicanos. He discusses his hopes for his research, explaining that he also wants to look at what happens to women who return to the barrio after serving time for drug abuse and to whom they turn for support. He hopes his research will uncover local support networks and behaviors, the project can then promote and further develop with social workers, teachers and other community members.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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