Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Dominican Republic

Trends in Drug Abuse
Extent of Drug Abuse: According to a study in emergency rooms in 1993, analgesics were the most abused drug, with lifetime ("ever") prevalence estimated at 75 per cent, followed by tranquilizers (17 per cent), stimulants (4 per cent), cannabis (1 per cent), inhalants and hallucinogens (0.6 per cent each), cocaine and crack (0.5 per cent each), coca-paste (0.3 per cent) and heroin (0.1 per cent) (CICAD 1993).
In a similar study in detention centers, analgesics were also the most abused drug, with lifetime prevalence estimated at 51 per cent, followed by cannabis (9 per cent), tranquilizers (5 per cent), cocaine (4 per cent), inhalants (2 per cent), stimulants (1 per cent), and hallucinogens (0.4 per cent) (CICAD 1993).
Abuser Characteristics: Abuse is reported highest among people 15-30 years of age, especially those of low socioeconomic background. There is some age variation according to the drug type: cannabis abusers are between 16-35 years old, opiate abusers about 18-40, amphetamine abusers about 16-24, meta-amphetamine and inhalant abusers about 15-30 (U.N. 1990).
Regional Variations: Most abuse occurs in the urban area around the capital of the country (U.N. 1990).
Trends: In 1990, some increase was reported in the abuse of cannabis, synthetic opiates, amphetamines, meta-amphetamines and inhalants (U.N. 1990)
Mode of intake: According to reports, cannabis is smoked, synthetic opiates injected, amphetamine and meta-amphetamine are ingested, inhalants are inhaled (U.N. 1990).

Costs and Consequences of Abuse
No information reported by 31st December 1993.

National Responses to Drug Abuse
National Strategy
: The Academy of Investigation of the National Drug Control Agency (Direccion de Control de Drogas, DCD) oversees drug abuse supply and demand reduction activities. Some collaboration with private institutions is reported (U.N. 1990).

Actions Taken to Implement International Drug Control Treaties**
Treaty adherence
: Dominican Republic is party to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention and the 1988 Convention.

Demand Reduction Activities
Primary Prevention:
In 1990, UNDCP started assisting DCD to implement a national prevention plan on drug abuse.  As a result drug prevention units were established in 240 schools in Santo Domingo, educational support material was prepared and teachers were trained.  In addition, drug prevention activities were developed at community level, supported nationally through a drug awareness campaign using the mass media.  In view of the success achieved, since 1993 activities have been extended to the rest of the country (UNDCP, 1994).
Treatment and Rehabilitation: No information reported by 31st December 1993.

Supply Reduction Activities
Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences
: The number of arrests due to illicit drug traffic or possession has increased from 2,115 persons arrested in 1988 to 4,812 in 1992 (CICAD 1993).
Seizures: The quantity of cannabis herb seized decreased from 498.191 kg in 1990 to 16.798 kg in 1991. A decrease was also reported in the quantity of cocaine (base and salts) seized, from 2,588.000 kg in 1990 down to 1,714.164 in 1991 (Other 1990, 1991).
Supply Source of Drugs: No information reported by 31st December 1993.

References and Notes

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

U.N. 1990. Replies to UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire for the year 1990.

CICAD 1993. Drug Surveillance in Central America, Panama, and Dominican Republic. Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse. CICAD/OAS/PAHO,1993.

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

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.

UNDCP, 1994. Information provided by UNDCP, Latin American Section.