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One of the 12 Grand Challenges facing contemporary social work is to close the health gap experienced by those in historically marginalized communities (Uehara et al., 2013). As social workers, we seek to understand the individual, interpersonal, social, and environmental factors along with the structural inequities leading to initiation and continuation of substance misuse. We are constantly contextualizing the circumstances under which substance misuse occurs, as well as contextualizing our approaches to addressing this issue from both a public health and social justice perspective. In order to adequately meet this challenge, considerably more research-based knowledge on the substance use treatment needs and preferences of America's largest ethnic/cultural group, Latinx, is needed. This brief report outlines current challenges associated with substance use research focusing on active Latinx heroin users living in a border state in a time of rapidly evolving social policy related to immigration, substance regulation, and public health.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of social work practice in the addictions on October 2020, available online:



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