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Substance Abuse

Substance use and abuse in the Latino community is a confounding co-factor in HIV infection.  The National Institute of Drug Use indicated behaviors associated with drug and alcohol use is now the single largest factor in the spread of HIV infection in the United States.  Additionally, alcohol use is associated with several risk factors for HIV infection among youth, including having multiple sex partners and inconsistent condom use. 


To address these prevention needs, BIENESTAR developed a Substance Abuse Department to manage prevention programs and expand the agency’s capacity to provide needed services to the community.  The Department directly address the need for substance abuse programs in the community that BIENESTAR serves by advocating for substance abuse funding and policy, as well as represent the agency at community events and conferences. 


Because BIENESTAR believes in a “peer-based” model, the Substance Abuse Prevention staff are part of the community they work in.  Many of the Harm Reduction Specialists working with the Syringe Exchange Program are former users, and recognize the needs and challenges of that particular community.  They are advocates for syringe access, and actively participate in local community forums, including meetings with local parole offices to educate police staff on the Syringe Exchange.  Due to their experiences and training, the Syringe Exchange staff is experts in the field of Harm Reduction and they are able to represent the issues surrounding syringe exchange to the public effectively.


For more information about specific Substance Abuse and Hepatitis Prevention Programs, please visit the Substance Abuse & Hepatitis Prevention Services page.


For additional information please contact Lori Mizuno, Director of Substance Abuse & Harm Reduction at (323) 727-7896 or

Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the State of California, Department of Health Services, Office of AIDS and the County of Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy (OAPP).