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Investigating the Importance of Cultural Environment to Addiction Treatment and Recovery in the United States-Mexico Border Zone

Ellen Kozelka (PI) 


Ellen's dissertation project examined the cultural definitions and lived experience of the “drug addict” during and after treatment along the US-MX border. It is a comparative study of two community-based models of residential drug rehabilitation in Tijuana, México, though inpatients live on both sides of the border. Ellen specifically investigates 1) how these models interpret the underlying problem of addiction; 2) how the treatment regimen is formulated around that interpretation; and 3) how this regimen affects inpatients’ understanding of treatment, themselves, and their perceptions of future possibilities. Her dissertation work was part of an international and inter-institutional project with El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California run by Dra. Olga Odgers Ortiz that investigates the relatively recent proliferation of religious and secular/spiritual rehabilitation centers for illicit drug users in Tijuana, MX.