Drug use and peer norms among youth in a high-risk drug use neighbourhood in Buenos Aires

AIMS: To determine if measures of drug use risk, sexual risk, external norms and internalized norms developed for impoverished neighbourhoods of New York are usable in similar neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires and have similar associations with each other in the two cities despite the many cultural, social, economic and political differences between these localities. METHODS: In 2003-2004, 240 current non-injection drug users (IDUs) and 63 current IDUs, aged 21-35 years, were interviewed in poor neighbourhoods of the Southern Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires about their drug use, sexual behaviours, internalized norms and external norms (actual and perceived social pressures from others) using measures developed in New York (Flom, Friedman, Benny, & Curtis, 2001a, Flom, et al., 2001b; Flom, Friedman, Jose, Neaigus, & Curtis, 2001c). Analyses studied associations between a hierarchical scale of drug use risk and the other variables. RESULTS: The hierarchical risk scale of drug use was associated with sexual risk behaviours; with external norms towards drug injection and sex with drug injectors, and internalized norms about social distance from drug injectors. CONCLUSIONS: The hierarchical drug use risk scale and the measures of external norms had relationships similar to those found in the earlier studies in New York City. This supports the ideas that these measures may have a degree of cross-cultural applicability.

Full citation:
Pawlowicz MP, Zunino Singh DS, Rossi D, Touze G, Wolman G, Bolyard M, Sandoval M, Flom PL, Mateu-Gelabert P, Friedman SR (2010).
Drug use and peer norms among youth in a high-risk drug use neighbourhood in Buenos Aires
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 17 (5), 544-559. doi: 10.3109/09687630802669585.