Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in the Americas

Primary Prevention in Central America

            Drug prevention efforts are on the increase. Prevention activities are common in primary and secondary schools, as well as among other youth and street children (U.N. 1992).

            Civic groups, parent-teacher associations and law enforcement agencies contribute to the formulation of programmes in schools and in the community; trade unions are involved in programme development targeting the work place; voluntary organizations and religious groups assist the prison population and sports clubs target players and athletes. Information (such as pamphlets and publications) on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation is provided to workers in some organizations. Basic training is part of the education of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Other health workers, social workers and law enforcement personnel receive further training courses. Mass media (television, newspaper, videos and music) campaigns target various groups and especially alcoholic women, youth and drug dependent abusers (U.N. 1992).


FUNDASALVA programmes target current and potential abusers in the educational and business sectors as well as in the community. It designs and implements programmes for the entire educational system as well as for the corporate and manufacturing sectors. At the community level it focusses especially on impoverished neighbourhoods. In general, it offers a model of a healthy life style and positive self esteem. Target populations are encouraged to become responsible for their own well being and to face all problems, including drug abuse. Its rehabilitation programme aims to reintegrate drug abusers into their family, workplace and community (MEMORIA DE LABORES 1991).

            FUNDASALVA conducts an interesting development programme which aims to maintain a reliable system of information on drug abuse and prevention, as well as to inform and educate the population and governmental leaders about drug abuse (MEMORIA DE LABORES 1991).


Preventive education was introduced in 1991 in primary and secondary schools. Parents, youth and street children are also targeted. Professional and voluntary organizations are involved in programme development targeting the whole population. Parents associations are involved in programme development for students, abuser's self and mutual help groups organize programmes for the abusers population and law enforcement agencies organize programmes for the police.

            Basic training programmes are part of the education of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Further training is provided for other health workers, social workers, teachers and law enforcement personnel.

            Mass media such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines organized drug prevention programmes for the youth, often sponsored by private entities (CMO 1991).


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).


Prevention programmes in Mexico include preventive education in schools as well as drug related training of teachers, technical personnel and professionals. Trainers are then encouraged to conduct prevention activities at the community level in the form of courses, seminar and other related activities (U.N. 1991).

            During 1991, agencies associated with the State Councils Against Addiction Care Programs (ADEFAR) organized 39,569 sports, recreational and cultural activities; 55,145 information sessions; 4,589 training courses for health professionals, teachers and volunteers; 32,538 radio messages, 9,725 television spots, 3,309 messages painted on street walls, posters, fliers and newsletters. A total of 19,401,072,400 Pesos was contributed by the community for these activities (ADEFAR 1990; Mexican Efforts in Drug control 1992).

     Preventive programmes include social and production projects in regions where the population is currently involved in growing illicit crops (Mexican Efforts in Drug Control 1992).


Educational and informative activities in drug prevention are organized by the Ministry of Health's sub programme on Prevention and Control of Alcoholism and Pharmacodependency. The programmes are directed at adolescents and young people, as well as parents. These include seminars, workshops, and the distribution of educational material. Some programmes are organized by private organizations which are aimed at professionals involved in drug abuse services (U.N. 1988; PAHO 1990).

            Drug abuse education and training at the undergraduate level for health professionals is reported to be adequate (PAHO 1990).