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The loud “silence” of a growing epidemic among the Latino community

 · December 28, 2021
The end of the year can feel really heavy for a lot of us in our comunidad. It seems like sometimes people who are not a part of our culture might have a hard time understanding the emotionality that comes with this time for us as a people. 

BIPOC families are dealing with A LOT, and we’ve always had to cope with A LOT. Along with the pain around the significant loss of life these last couple of years, we carry constant grief. Though many of us may have been raised with lots of love, it often came alongside so much struggle even from our first years.

Within my immediate and extended family, we struggled with issues like incarceration, deportation, racism, domestic violence, child abuse, and a lot of addiction. And I know many children are still experiencing many of these within their familias.

In terms of addiction, my family really struggled with alcohol and cigarettes. I have clear memories of Tecate in the left fist, and a cigarro in the other. I picked up that this was what coping looked like. And by the time I turned 17, I began to struggle with cigarettes.

As I grew up, I learned how much of all of these addictive behaviors were due to cultural and intergenerational traumas. The woundedness that generates addiction hasn’t gone away fully in my family, and maybe not in yours either. 

There’s so much I want to share with my children about substance use, and it’s hard to know exactly how to go about it sometimes, though I manage. But I wish my parents and the family I grew up around didn’t feel a need so big that they felt they had to cope in those ways. I wish there would have been more support, and more access to shame-free places and spaces where understanding and guidance happened. I still wish this. 

That’s why I’m so happy to learn about the work of Partnership to End Addiction. Their work centers around providing families impacted by addiction with the support they need, and their resources are also in Spanish. We need this. And we hope that if you have a loved one who struggles with substance use or wants to learn how to have conversations with their children about using substances, they will use this resource.


According to recent data revealed by the CDC, the United States exceeds alarming figures in the face of the impact of drug use, and unfortunately the Latino community is not exempt. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already terrible overdose epidemic. A report published in February describes that Hispanics have experienced more depression and suicidal thoughts during the pandemic, which has contributed to exacerbating already high rates of overdoses and substance use in the community.

This heartbreaking reality about the increase in substances, in addition to the limited access to services and care among Latino populations, underscores the urgency of a strong prevention and early intervention infrastructure to meet the needs of primarily Latino communities.

Partnership to End Addiction, a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting family members concerned or impacted by a loved one's substance use, offers confidential and completely free services to the Latino community - with support available at English and Spanish. Their specialists are not only trained to offer families personalized support regarding substance use, but they also understand Latin American culture.

As of 2018, 20.3 million people have a substance use disorder (SUD)

 20.2 million people are in recovery*

Nearly half of all Americans have a family member or close friend with addiction** 

71% of Americans believe the country is not doing enough to address addiction***

Access to resources and services are nationwide and it is not necessary to reside in a specific state, so regardless of the state in which people are, Partnership to End Addiction is there to support them.  Their services are offered remotely either by phone, email and text message.

Partnership to End Addiction is committed to ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of those who receive its services. They will never question the immigration status of the families we help. Those who feel more comfortable providing us with personal information such as their name can remain anonymous and still receive the service. In this way, everyone can access the free services that the Partnership offers families regardless of their immigration status.

To have access to resources or services, no specific requirements are required. It is as simple a step as visiting the website in Spanish: https://drugfree.org/recursos-en-espanol/ and initiating the approach, either via email, telephone, or text message. Partnership to End Addiction offers support to family members (defined as parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, friends, partners etc.), who are concerned about the substance use of a loved one and whether they are seeking information for prevention, early intervention , treatment or is in the state of recovery.

resources available 

Línea de Ayuda - (Helpline in Spanish)
Via Telephone: to schedule a call you can contact them at 1-855-DRUGFREE 

Online using the following link: https://scheduler-qa.drugfree.org/ 

Text Message: send the word CONNECT to 55753


Their Helpline is available to anyone who plays a supportive role in the life of someone struggling with substance use. Trained and attentive bilingual specialists are willing to listen to the challenges, setbacks and obstacles that family members are having. The specialists will propose a personalized course of action.
Connecting with a specialist is free and confidential. There are several methods with which you can connect with your specialists who will assist you in less than 24 hours.

Texting Program - Help and Hope
The Partnership to End Addiction offers a text program called “Ayuda y Esperanza” in Spanish for the Spanish-speaking community. These text messages are designed for parents and grandparents who are looking for prevention tools or for those who have just discovered that their loved ones are using substances. They are based on scientific evidence and offer skills and strategies for family members to know how to support their loved one. To register for the program, you just send a text message to 55753 with the word AYUDA.
Spanish Resources
On its website, Partnership to End Addiction offers educational resources that address topics from prevention, early intervention, to how to support a loved one in treatment or the recovery process.
There you can get science-based information and resources, information and resources to help family members like guides, e-books, videos, and much more.

Connect with Partnership to End Addiction

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Throughout my adulthood, from time to time I’ve felt heavy grief over my childhood. The emotional abuse & disconnection was rampant, and I recognize that there are many things I will work on healing from until I transition from my body. The traumatic events shifted my needs & priorities, and I had no choice but to adapt. At the time, I couldn’t have known the long-term impact of what was happening. ⁣

Growing up, I saw my peers accomplish things I didn’t feel I could do— mainly because I didn’t care to anymore. School wasn’t a priority at all. Any kind of academic or professional achievements were last on my list. I had given up my interests, or the idea that I could have enriching interests. I didn’t apply to any colleges. I thought it would‘ve been a waste & I would’ve failed out immediately. ⁣⁣
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What DID I want? Friendships. Fast fun. Numbing. Someone to love me. Even if I didn’t love me. I attached myself to whatever and whomever I could. Often it didn’t end well. ⁣⁣
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Trauma interrupts development. Maybe this isn’t news to you. But what it means is that those who have *not* experienced abuse haven’t had this interruption. Their baseline for success looks different. Neurotypical kids who have supportive secure attachments spend their childhoods building brain pathways that allow for self-control, critical thinking, healthy decision making skills, etc.⁣⁣
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This is a conversation about the privilege that comes with having been raised with unconditional love and acceptance. It’s also a conversation about class disparities, about race & ethnicity, about subconscious ancestral wounds that need healing, about comparison, and most importantly about the mandate we have to break cycles of abuse for our children. ⁣⁣

PRIVILEGE in itself isn’t bad, it’s what is *done* with it once it is recognized— in this case, the privilege of healthy brain development— that is important. If you were this parent that has entered into parenting with wounds that you didn’t even notice until you started to repeat some of the patterns that harmed you: You’re doing great. You’re noticing now & evolving. And your kids will be privileged because of it, & use their privileges well. ⁣⁣
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I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this conversation with Ysabel of @estoyaquillc. 🥹

We get really real & raw with our discussion on suicide through a cultural lens. If you have ever been anyone who has considered suicide as an option (like me!), or have had loved ones that have (like me!), or just care about people in general, please watch and listen.

We talk about:
👉🏽Redefining suicidal ideation
👉🏽Learning how to communicate needs
👉🏽The REAL causes of people’s suicidal ideation and/or death by suicide
👉🏽Questions to ask a person who might be considering it
👉🏽The importance of agency and autonomy in choosing resources
👉🏽 Choosing providers who are abolitionist

And SO MUCH MORE! We were on for an hour and a half and it still felt like too short of a time! 🫀

You can support Ysabel by following her work and learning about her offerings and tapping into her merch ‼️

Gracias Ysabel and I can’t wait to keep collaborating with you. 💕

#CommunityPlatica #suicide #suicideideation #suicideprevention #suicideintervention #suicidalideation

#LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo
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Reclaiming our Familias.
Reclaiming Ourselves.
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