Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Trends in Drug Abuse
Extent of Drug Abuse:
Cannabis is the most abused drug in Uruguay, according to police detention records, with annual abuse estimated lower than 1 per cent (U.N. 1991). Cocaine is reported the next most abused drug in Uruguay, followed by amphetamines, inhalents and hallucinogenes (U.N. 1991).
Abuser Characteristics: Most of the abusers are male, with females accounting for about 14 per cent of marihuana abusers, 8 per cent of cociane abusers and 18 per cent of inhalent abusers (U.N. 1990). Abuse of marihuana and cocaine is reported more predominent among the 15-25 age range, while abusers of inhalents are somewhat younger, between 10-15 years of age (U.N. 1990). Abuse occurs in all social levels, though almost no cocaine is consumed in very poor social levels. Most inhalnt abusers are reported to come from low social and cultural levels and are often street children that do not attend schools (U.N. 1990).
Regional Variations: No information reported by 31st December 1993.
Trends: In 1991, an increase in cocaine abuse was reported. Some increase was reported in the abuse of cannabis and hallucinogenes, while some decrease was reported in the abuse of amphetamines and inhalents (U.N. 1991).
Mode of intake: No unusual modes of intake are reported in Uruguay. Cocaine is sniffed, cannabis smoked, and amphetamines and sedatives are both injected and ingested (U.N. 1991). Multi-drug abuse is also reported, where in most cases drugs are taken in combination with alcohol (U.N. 1991).

Cost and Consequences of Abuse
Two cases of mortality due to drug abuse were reported in 1991 (U.N. 1991).

National Responses to Drug Abuse
National Strategy: No information reported in Annual Reports Questionnaire by 31st December 1993.

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

Demand Reduction Activities
Primary Prevention:
The Committee of Preventive Education organized training activities on a formal level. In 1988, the first activities took place for directors and teachers. In 1989, five training courses were organized leading to the formation of 510 teachers to act as multiplying agents in preventive education (U.N. 1990).
In 1990, the bi-lateral agreement between Argentina and Uruguay was approved for Preventive Education about drugs, and a project was also ellaborated for dealing with the pharmacodepency problem in the Brazil-Uruguay border (U.N. 1990).
Treatment and Rehabilitation: A reported total of 256 beds are available for treatment of drug addicts in different hospitals (U.N. 1991). Less than 5 per cent of the drug dependent abusers in Uruguay are reported to receive treatment services (U.N. 1990). In 1989, a Unit for the Treatment of Pharmacodependents was created in a general hospital; this includes an emergency unit and an inpatient unit (U.N. 1990).

Supply Reduction Activities
Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences:
The number of people arrested for traffic or possession of illicit drugs has decreased from 1,293 in 1988, to 847 in 1992 (CICAD 1993).
Seizures: In 1991, 7.434 kg of cannabis herb and 6.886 kg of cocaine (base and salts) were seized (Other 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, 1991. Replies to Annual Reports Questionnaire (1990-1991). 

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

Other 1991. Obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by the Government or from other official sources for the year 1991.