Alcohol Use Rates for Rio Grand Valley, Texas, Hispanic Young Adults Increasing, Survey Indicates
Alcohol abuse is increasingly more prevalent, especially among young adults in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, predominantly Hispanic population, the Rio Grande Valley Monitor reports. According to a University of Texas-Austin survey, 23% of Hispanics ages 18 to 25 who live along the U.S.-Mexico border reported having an alcohol problem, compared with 15% nationwide. Many Hispanic young adults go to Mexico, where the legal drinking age is 18, according to Nancy Trevino, public education coordinator for the Rio Grande Valley Council, which provides alcohol treatment services. Other research suggests that Hispanic young adults are more likely than black or white youth to drink alcohol and become intoxicated. They are also more likely to begin drinking alcohol heavily at a younger age than any other ethnic group, previous research has found. Some research links advertising targeted toward Hispanic youth contributing to the disparity, while others suggest poverty and lower incomes as factors. Hispanic teens in the Valley also seem to have increasingly easy access to alcohol, and some parents do not discourage underage drinking, Eduardo Olivarez, CEO of the Hidalgo County Health Department, said. Meanwhile, funding for treatment of alcohol abuse has decreased in the area, according to Rosie Cavazos, service coordinator for the New Vision detoxification program at Dolly Vinsant Memorial Hospital in San Benito. The Texas Department of State Health Services, Cameron and Hidalgo counties have about 35 substance use treatment programs, two of which are inpatient, residential facilities, officials said (McEver, Rio Grande Valley Monitor, 11/30).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.