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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


HYNES DOWELL, Marya; SUAREZ, Héctor  and  CUMSILLE, Francisco. Cocaine Use among High School Students in Six South American Countries. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2010, vol.39, suppl.1, pp.36s-45s. ISSN 0034-7450.

Objectives: To compare lifetime and past year prevalence estimates of cocaine use among secondary school students in six South American countries. Methods: Data are from the 2009 Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and United Nations Office on Drug Control Policy (UNODC) collaborative study on drug use; with national representative samples of over 170,286 secondary school students in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Results: Cocaine was the second most commonly reported illicit substance used following marijuana in Argentina and Uruguay, and was the most common illicit substance following marijuana and inhalants in the other four countries surveyed. Past year use ranged from a high of 3.5% in Uruguay to a low of 1.1% in Peru. Conclusions: Cocaine prevalence shows a worrisome pattern among high school students in South America. Rates in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are close to the United States and Canada. This analysis provides evidence to support the notion that cocaine use is a problem in South American countries, particularly among those that have no known history of cocaine production. Implications for drug policy, health among teenagers and education in Latin America are discussed.

Keywords : Cocaine; street drugs; use; adolescents; South America..

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