Approaches to Treatment for Latinos

latino hispanic teens addiction

Latinos are one of the fastest growing ethnic populations in the United States but are also more likely than other ethnic groups to have a substance abuse problem. Learn more about treatment approaches for Latinos.


Addiction treatment for Latinos has been found to support certain services for treatment and may have an effect on the overall effectiveness of treatment. Some services include:

  • Spanish speaking addiction specialists
  • Payment assistance programs to help low-income Latinos pay for treatment
  • Vocational and educational services during treatment to help teach skills necessary for self-sufficiency and less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol
  • Cultural and societal aspects of Latino demographic which can be incorporated into treatment

Addiction Treatment

Like the vast majority of addiction treatment programs, Latino addiction treatment typically consists of a few basic steps.

Evaluation and assessment

Latinos undergo evaluation prior to addiction treatment. During evaluation, an addiction specialist will assess the need for treatment based on severity of addiction and presence of any underlying mental health problems. Family, school and career must be taken into consideration when developing a plan.


The detox step is difficult but should not be skipped. The majority of Latino drug addiction programs require new clients to be clean and sober before entering. This requires a person to spend several days or weeks going through withdrawal. Latinos are encouraged to enter a facility to support this process.


Drug addiction treatment often consists of many simultaneous aspects, including individual behavior therapy, group counseling and pharmacotherapy approaches. Latinos are very family-oriented and play a role in drug addiction treatment.


Continuing a person’s life after completion of drug addiction treatment can be difficult. Once a Latino completes drug treatment, there may be a requirement to follow aftercare protocol which can decrease the likelihood of relapse. Aftercare is a crucial step for Latinos to prepare for sober living.

Treatment Barriers

Latino addiction treatment barriers can create obstacles that must be overcome to best support Latinos in treatment. Common barriers include:

  • Language barriers
  • Cultural views of addiction treatment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Family responsibilities
  • Shame around addiction treatment

Latinos with addiction may not know where to start but help is available. Starting with primary physicians and doctors is important to helping people the service needed.


Sustain Recovery provides adolescent treatment programs anywhere from 30-90 days in length. Learn more about the programs offered and how it can benefit young people with addiction.