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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


CASTANO PEREZ, Guillermo A; CALDERON VALLEJO, Gustavo A  and  BERBESI FERNANDEZ, Dedsy Yajaira. Use of Emerging Drugs in Medellín, Colombia. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2013, vol.42, n.3, pp.248-256. ISSN 0034-7450.

Abstract Introduction: The ongoing emergence of new synthetic substances that are used as drugs is a constant challenge to public health. Emerging drugs is the concept used in this research project to define the emergence of new psychoactive substances at a given time, a specific context and group, the reemergence of others that some epidemiologists considered had lost their prevalence, and the sudden prevalence of drugs that had low levels of consumption. Method: This research project was carried out using an empirical-analytical approach using a mixed methods study. The convenience sample was made up of 510 drug dependents institutionalized in treatment centers in Medellin in the year 2011. The examination was carried out related to the consumption of emerging drugs. An ad hoc tool was applied to all the drug users in order to identify which of the drugs of this study they considered to be emergent. Once the consumers were identified and selected based on the frequency of consumption, and the prevalence in the last year and last month, a semi-structured interview was carried out to find out details on the substances and their consumption characteristics. Results: Based on the new drug consumers in Medellin, 82.2% were male and 17.8% female. As regards education levels, 58.2% were in high school, 26.8% hold higher technical or college degrees, and 1.4% had no schooling. Only 27.8% held a steady job, occasional employment, or were independent business owners, 40.7% were students and 8.9% were housewives. More than three-quarters (76.3%) were single, and 17.8% had a steady partner. The sample represented all social classes. Of all the emerging drugs found in this study, the prevalence of benzodiazepines stands out (flunitrazepam and clonazepam), life prevalence (LP), 97.5%; last year prevalence (LYP), 67.9%, and last month prevalence (LMP), 46.7%. These were followed by the synthetic drugs (LSD, Ecstasies, amphetamines, GHB, Vegetable Ecstasies, Phencyclidine; Methamphetamine, Ketamine, 2CB), with LP, 96.5%; LYP, 44.5%, and LMP, 23.5%. Then there was smokable cocaine (Crack and Free-Base), with LP, 80%, LYP, 52.1%, and LYP=31.7%. The opiate derivatives (heroine, morphine, opium, codeine, dextromethorphan, meperidine, fentanyl) had an LP, 61.4%; LYP, 26.7% and LMP, 16%. The consumption statistics of the hallucinogens such as mushrooms, scopolamine and "yague", had an LP, 73.5%; LYP, 23.2% and LMP, 12.2%. Finally, use of inhalants such as popper and dichloromethane (Dick) had an LP, 87.9%; LYP, 37.6% and LMP, 21.6%. Conclusion: These results are an alert to the need to track the development of these so called emergent drugs due to the risks they pose for public health.

Keywords : Emerging drugs; Medellin; characteristics; Consumer common scenarios.

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