Drug related violence among Mexican American youth in Laredo, Texas: Preliminary findings

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Alberto Mata
Avelardo Valdez
John Alvaradeo
Alice Cepeda
Richard Cervantes


While the problem of drug related gang violence may no longer command national media and a high level of policymakers' attention and concern, in border communities, drug related barrio gang violence remains a major concern on both sides of the border, and for their communities' respective leaders and policymakers. The project's larger study examines the epidemiology of drug related violence among Mexican American youth in two communities and three major neighborhoods in Laredo, Texas. With regard to gang members' lifetime use of drugs like heroin, cocaine, crack/cocaine, amphetamines, other opiates, inhalants, acid/psychedelics and marijuana, Laredo gang members reported wide ranges of substances and levels of use. Unlike earlier community gang studies, the sampling approach and method allows us to speak to a wider range of gangs, gang members, and activities that other earlier studies were not able to address. The data suggests that It is unlikely that gangs, drugs, and
violence will abate in border gateway cities.

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