The U.S./Mexico border is a distinctive area socially, culturally, and with respect to drinking. Alcohol is more easily available because the minimum legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 compared to the U.S. age of 21. There are also more bars, clubs, and restaurants in the areas that serve alcohol. Previous research has shown that the border population is more at risk for unsafe drinking, such as binge drinking, and drinking-related problems, such as drinking and driving, than the population farther away from the border. Therefore, the high proportion of people of Mexican origin residing near the U.S.-Mexico border is particularly likely to be exposed to this higher risk environment.
This research project examines how this border environment relates to heavier and problem drinking. We will analyze archival data collected prior to the beginning of the research study (such as hospital admissions), observations of the places where people drink, and surveys of adults 18-39 years of age living in the California/Mexico border areas of Imperial City, El Centro, Heber, and Calexico. This sample will be compared to a group of age-matched Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites who live away from the border, in the cities of Delano, Madera, Tulare, and Visalia, in the Central Valley of California.