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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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Drug Abuse In Chicano Communities
Program #

Social Issues
Linda Fregoso
Albert Mata
Mar 22, 1982

Drug Abuse in Chicano Communities

Linda Fregoso speaks with Dr. Albert Mata, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, about the various patterns of drug abuse within the Chicano community. Mata is primarily interested in categorizing different types of drug users. He lays out three models of youth drug abuse and explains that he is most concerned with youths who use drugs to intensify tension and violence. These conflict-oriented drug abusers are particularly dangerous because they threaten both themselves and the community. He expects that we will see a larger increase in conflict-oriented drug abusers as youth programs are eliminated. He then describes several personality types associated with drug abuse and explains that drug programs must be geared to each of the personality types.

Mata then explains that in the wake of declining economic conditions, many young drug users rely on the barrio’s underground economy to fund their habit. This informal network is based on exchanges and transactions that are labeled as criminal. These networks are also often associated with gangs, and Mata talks about how the media has sensationalized gang violence. Mata also explains that he has seen a rise in women’s participation in gangs, and discusses possible explanations for the increase. Similarly, he has observed an increase in women who abuse hard drugs, such as heroin, and he describes two models of Chicana drug abuse. Mata then discusses efforts to deter and punish drug use and potential avenues for research. He suggests that parents become more involved in barrio life and in their children’s schools.


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

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