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Immigrating At A Young Age May Increase Risk Of Alcohol & Drug Abuse


Immigrants from Mexico tend to be healthier than their American-born counterparts. However, a new study shows Mexican immigrants who come to the U.S. before the age of 14 are more likely to have alcohol and drug problems as adults.

Adjusting to life in a new country can be challenging, especially if you’re young.  A new study, to be published July in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, brings new insights on alcohol and drug use among Mexican-Americans.

Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez, co-author of the study and Assistant Professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, says data showed people who came to the U.S. from Mexico before the age of 12 were more likely to have drug abuse problems in adulthood, and those who came before age 14 were more likely to have alcohol abuse problems than those who came later on in life.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.