Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Trend in drug Abuse
Extent of Drug Abuse:
Analgesics are reported the most prevalent drugs abused among emergency rooms patients (80 per cent) followed by tranquilizers (10 per cent), cannabis (4 per cent), stimulants (3 per cent), inhalants (1 per cent), hallucinogens (0.5 per cent), cocaine (0.3 per cent), crack and coca-paste (0.2 per cent each), and heroin (0.15 per cent)(CICAD 1993).
Analgesics are also reported the most prevalent drugs abused among arrestees in detention centers (80 per cent), followed by cannabis 30 per cent, tranquilizers (19 per cent), inhalants (10 per cent), stimulants (5 per cent), cocaine and hallucinogens (3 per cent each), crack and coca-paste (1 per cent) and heroin (0.4 per cent) (CICAD 1993).
According to a study with secondary school students in 1988, "ever" prevalence of cannabis abuse is about 5.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent for cocaine (CICAD 1993).
A 1987 study conducted among young people in two rehabilitation centers showed that 51 per cent of the interviewees had some history of drug abuse. Inhalation of glue was the most common practice (PAHO 1990).
Abuser Characteristics: Abusers are mostly young. According to the study in emergency rooms and detention centers, the median age for first time abuse is below 18 for most drugs and as low as 14 for analgesics in emergency rooms. Similar findings are reported in detention centers. The median age of first abuse is higher for tranquilizers (25) and stimulants (23) (CICAD 1993).
Regional Variations: In the rural and marginal urban areas, there is less knowledge but also less control of psychotropic substances (PAHO 1990).
Trends: No information reported by 31st December 1993.
Mode of Intake: No Information reported by 31st of December 1993.

Cost and Consequences of Abuse
Drug related problems ranked ninth as a discharge diagnosis from psychiatric hospitals in 1984 and 1985 (PAHO 1990).

National Responses to Drug Abuse
National Strategy
Drug matters are dealt with by the Mental Health Division of the Ministry of Health, through the Honduran Institute for the Prevention and Treatment of Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Drug Abuse (IHADFA) (PAHO 1990).
The government has passed a declaration on Prevention and Control of Alcoholism, Drug Addiction and Pharmacodependency in order to fulfill the purposes established in the law on illicit abuse and traffic of drugs and psychotropic substances ("Ley Sobre el Uso Indebido y Trבfico Ilicito de Drogas y Substancias Psicotrףpicas") and the Law of the IHADFA (U.N. 1990).

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

Demand Reduction Activities
Primary Prevention:
The principal method of prevention used in Honduras, is education. This consists of printing and distribution of posters and pamphlets together with the dissemination of radio programmes and talks. Attention is focused particularly on secondary school students (PAHO 1990).
Primary and secondary school curricula material, seminars and workshops have been held since 1987. Recreational and educational leisure activities for youth, such as sports activities, have also been promoted (CMO 1990).
Preventive education training targets community leaders and teachers (CMO 1990).
Prevention activities are available in the workplace. Information on preventive education is provided at the national level by the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Public Education and private organizations (U.N. 1990).
Signed and stamped medical prescriptions are required to obtain preparations containing narcotic or psychotropic substances. However, approximately 500 counterfeit prescriptions are reported to have been discovered since 1986, almost all for tranquilizers (PAHO 1990).
Treatment and Rehabilitation: Patients are offered treatment in 4 different levels: in hospitals detoxification units, in private organizations, in Health Centers and in self and mutual help groups (U.N. 1990).

Supply Reduction Activities
Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences:
In 1992, a total of 409 people were arrested for traffic or possession of illicit drugs (CICAD 1993b).
 In 1988, a total of 687 people were arrested for illicit drug possession: 659 were related to cannabis possession, 14 to cannabis plant resins, 13 to cocaine and 1 to heroin. A reported 274 were convicted, 259 cases were for the possession of cannabis, 14 for the possession of cannabis plant resins and 1 for heroin possession (U.N. 1990).
It was reported that 57 people were detained for cocaine traffic and one for the traffic of heroin. A total of 122 people were convicted for illicit traffic of cannabis (64), cocaine (57) and heroin (1) (U.N. 1988).
Most of the 396 people convicted were male, over 25 years of age and unemployed (U.N. 1988).
Seizures: In 1990, 108.864 kg of cannabis herb, 12,378 units of cannabis plants and 14.515 kg of cannabis seeds were seized as well as 363.519 kg of cocaine (base and salts) (Other 1990).
Supply Source of Drugs: Cocaine enters the country through Puerto Cortיs, Islas de la Bahia and Puerto Castilla in the Atlantic Ocean, and via the airports of Toncontin and Ramףn Villeda Morales of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Cannabis is cultivated in the country, but also comes from Guatemala by sea in transit to the USA (U.N. 1988).

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. 1988 and 1990. Replies to UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire for the years 1988 and 1990. 

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

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

CMO 1990. Replies to UNDCP questionnaire concerning the seven targets of the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control (CMO) (1990).

Other 1990. Obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by the Government or from other official sources for the year 1990.

PAHO 1990. 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, 1990.