Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Trends in Drug Abuse
Extent of Drug Abuse: Cannabis is reported as the most abused drug in Chile, with an annual prevalence estimated at 7.6 per cent (1.022.239 cases) and daily abuse at 4 per cent (557.668 cases). Abuse is more prevalent among males (69 per cent) than females (31 per cent), and prevelance is highest among those between 18-25 years of age.
Amphetamines are the next most abused drug. Annual prevalence for amphetamines is estimated at 0.7 per cent (92.944 cases) and daily abuse is about 0.2 per cent (27.883 cases). Again, most abusers are males between 18-25 years of age, while 1.4 per cent of abusers are females.
Cocaine is the next most prevalent drug, with annual abuse estimated at 0.4 per cent and daily abuse at 0.1 per cent. Other drugs reported abused include hallucinogens, volatile solvents, sedatives (U.N. 1991).
An estimated 18 per cent of the Chilean population has abused drugs at least once in their lives. Among them, 6.3 per cent are considered of high risk, and 3.2 per cent show derivative damage (CND 1991).
Abuser Characteristics: Abusers of most substances are male, between 18-25 years of age (U.N., 1991). It is estimated that 40-50 per cent of adolescents have smoked cannabis at least once in their lifetime, while 5 per cent of youth 12-19 years of age are reported to abuse cannabis regularly. It is estimated that 30 per cent of the adults have ever tried cocaine freebase in the northern regions, and about 3 per cent of the urban population in these areas are regular abusers. Most abusers are of middle to upper socioeconomic background (PAHO 1990).
Regional Variations: Drug abuse in Chile is more concentrated in the north, on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Abuse of coca-paste and cocaine is reported to have increased in the north. An estimated 5 tonnes of coca base paste are smuggled to Chile through the northern border annually. The abuse of coca derivatives in this regions tends to spread to the rest of the country, especially to the most populated cities (CND 1991).
The increase in cocaine abuse in the northern region has now equaled and possibly surpassed the level of cannabis abuse in the north (CND 1992).
Trends: Some increase in cocaine abuse was reported in 1991. This is attributed to the deteriorating economic situation and unemployment in the country as well as to increased availability. There have been no significant changes reported in the abuse of other drugs (U.N. 1991).
Mode of intake: The most common mode of intake for most drugs in Chile is smoking. This also applies to cocaine, which may also be sniffed (U.N. 1991).
Multiple drug use is common. For example, cocaine, cannabis, tobacco and alcohol are abused together (U.N., 1991).

Costs and Consequences of Abuse
One hundred cases of AIDS were reported, two of which were attributed to IDVU (PAHO, 1990).

National Responses to Drug Abuse
National Strategy:
The National Council for the Control of Drugs, headed by the Minister of the Interior, was created to advise the President with regard to coordination at the national level. Various public and private organizations take part in the control of drug demand and supply (CND 1991).

Actions to Implement International Drug Control Treaties
Treaty adherence:
Chile is party to the 1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention and the 1988 Convention.

Demans Reduction Activities
Primary Prevention:
There have been drug prevention education programmes in schools at the primary and secondary levels since 1976. Prevention activities, including seminars, courses and speeches, are available for parents and other targeted groups. In 1990-1991, mass media promoted prevention programmes for both the whole community and specific groups. Basic drug education training programmes are part of the formal education of doctors, nurses, health workers, teachers and law enforcement personnel . There is also further training for all these groups, with the exception of the law enforcement personnel (CMO 1991).
Prevention programmes are also organized by civic groups, voluntary organizations, religious groups, sports clubs and other NGOs. At the national level, courses are coordinated by the Ministry of Education. Leisure time activities are also organized by the Ministry of Health in order to improve interpersonal relationships, strengthen local identity and provide favorable atmosphere for spending free time constructively (CMO 1991).
Treatment and Rehabilitation: Treatment and rehabilitation policies in Chile are based on the development of information to enable effective planning and evaluation of programmes. Policies aim to support existing activities, train professionals in this field, cultivate community support and programme participation, encourage rehabilitation of drug abusers and their return to work as well as the development of treatment and rehabilitation programmes in the work place (CMO 1991).

Supply Reduction Activities
Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences
: In 1989, 5088 people were arrested for the illegal possession of the following drugs: cannabis (3764), cannabis plant resins (504), inhalants (712), cocaine (95), stimulants (13). A further 2,000 people were arrested for illicit traffic of the following drugs: cannabis (713), cannabis plant resins (584), cocaine (514), coca leaf (9), stimulants (180). Most of the arrested were male, about 19-30 years of age, including mainly unemployed people, qualified and unqualified employees, and students (U.N. 1989).
In 1992, a total of 4,329 persons were arrested for traffic or possession of illicit drugs (CICAD 1993).
Seizures: Cannabis herb seizures increased almost five times from 5,134.212 kg in 1990 to 24,010.769 kg in 1991. Canabis plants seizures totaled 43,111.000 kg in 1991 (Other 1990, 1991).
Seizures of coca leaf decreased from 104.140 kg in 1990 to 54.870 kg in 1991, while cocaine (base and salts) seizures doubled from 235.943 kg in 1990 to 402.283 kg in 1991 Other 1990, 1991).
More than one tonne of cocaine was seized during 1989-1990, on its way to the USA and Europe. It is estimated that many more thousands of kilograms went through (CND 1991).
Supply Source of Drugs: Cocaine comes in from the producing countries through the northern region. There is no evidence of international traffic of cannabis. Inside the country, cannabis is transported from the cultivation regions to the urban areas by land (U.N. 1991).

References and Notes
** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was not available by 15th of Januaty 1994.

U.N. 1989 and 1991. Replies to UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire in 1989 and 1991. 

CICAD 1993. First Report of the Inter-American Data Bank to the CICAD.

CND 1992. Commission on Narcotic Drugs, 35th Session: Discurso del Sr. Subsecretario del Interior de la Republica de Chile, April, 1992.

CND 1991. Commission on Narcotic Drugs 1991 Speech of the Chilean Under-Secretary of the Interior, May, 1991, (Inofficial Translation).

CMO 1991. Replies to UNDCP questionnaire concerning the seven targets of the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control.

Other 1990, 1991. Obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by the Government or from other official sources for the years 1990 and 1991.

PAHO 1990. Murrelle, Lenn, Escalona, Rodrigo, and Florenzano, Ramon. "Epidemiologic Report on the Use and Abuse of Psychoactive Substances in 16 Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean". Bulletin of the Pan American Health Organization, Special Report. vol.24. no.1, pp.97-140, 1990.