Garcia and Colleague Awarded Grant for Substance Use Disorders Project

Posted on 9/26/2014 1:27:55 PM

Victor Garcia, director of MARTI and professor of anthropology, together with Anna Pagano, medical anthropologist and research scientist at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, California, received a $275,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. They were awarded the grant for their research project, “Use of Mutual-Help Recovery Houses by Latino Migrant Laborers with Substance Use Disorders.”

Pagano is the principle investigator on the project and Garcia the co-investigator. In May, Garcia was appointed adjunct senior research scientist at PRC, a national center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The mission of PRC is to study and understand the social and physical environments that influence behaviors that lead to alcohol and drug misuse. This grant is Garcia’s fourth research grant from the National Institutes of Health. 

The first of its kind, the two-year project examines Latino day laborers’ use of anexos, a mutual-help substance abuse treatment model that originated in Mexico. Anexos, introduced to the United States 20 years ago, stem from migrant laborers developing substance use disorders (SUDs) in both the United States and Mexico. These residential, mutual-help recovery programs provide a structured daily routine, peer support, and daily Spanish-Language Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings that incorporate specific language, rituals, and other cultural elements from AA as practiced in Mexico.

Using various ethnographic research methods, the study will explore the structure and practices of these transnational recovery programs, as well as how and why Latino day laborers use them. The long-term goal of the project is to design and conduct a nationwide study of anexos, thereby refining knowledge of low-cost, culturally accepted, and accessible SUD treatment options for Latino day laborers in the country.